My name is Joan Smith. My life , as well s my family’s, changed forever on June 12, 2014. My husband Jeff had been having difficulty retrieving his words and completing his thoughts, which was extremely out of character for my well-spoken and educated husband. He went to his GP who dismissed his symptoms as being a part of the aging process. Being a healthy 54-year-old man we refused to accept this, and with some persistence a CT scan was ordered. This is when our daunting journey began.
After the CT scan Jeff was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The neurosurgeon reviewed Jeff’s CT scan and informed us that he needed surgery immediately, and without hesitation the surgery was scheduled. Without surgery Jeff’s prognosis was not good. Within hours after the surgery we were informed there was left side hem-paralysis, leaving him extremely weak on the entire left side of his body. We were all aware at this point the he would need intense rehabilitation, physical, occupational and speech therapy. He was not able to stand or walk. From here on we as a family faced constant struggle with inconsistent treatment, rehabilitation and care facilities.
Jeff fought a hard battle, he remained in health care facilities until August 2015 when we brought him home, a promise we had made with him upon his decline. On September 10th we admitted Jeff to Hospice. It was here that he received the best care since his diagnosis, he was given his dignity back after his long painful battle with brain cancer. On September 14, 2015 this wonderful man, husband, and father lost his battle to an ugly and debilitating disease.
It is both heart wrenching and sickening that my husband, a healthy 54-year-old man had to spend the last 15 months of his life as a prisoner in his own body with little to no quality of life. This is our story, and therefore I am fighting for Brain Tumor Awareness: justice for my best friend and husband Jeffrey Smith, and in hopes that no one else will ever have to go through the struggle that Jeff, myself and children Paul and Samantha did.
Brain tumors have among the fewest therapeutic options, so research funding is absolutely critical to finding new effective treatments. We need to provide better quality of life for brain tumor patients. Also, more than any other cancer, brain tumors can have lasting and life altering physical, cognitive and psychological impacts on a patients life. Let’s Slay the Beast!