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Fighting against GBM

Published on September 10, 2019 in Share Your Story

My name is Javier, I was diagnosed at age 43 with a Stage 4 GBM.

At the time of diagnosis, I was not able to understand the severity of my cancer. My wife saved my life by taking me to the hospital, not knowing what was wrong with me but noticed that I wasn’t myself. After emergency craniotomy the next day which removed 95% of the tumor, I woke up in the recovering room, not knowing what had happened to me.

When my wife saw me in the ICU, she smiled and thanked God that I was able to recognize her. She had received a diagnosis that gave no hope. I chose not to know the stage or time frame that I had left on this earth. I told my wife “it’s in God’s hands, we just need to trust him.”

My wife is my angel and my nurse. She began to take me to have my chemotherapy and radiation treatments, without me knowing that it was palliative treatments. She tried her best to keep me active and happy. Not just for us but for our three young children. There ages 7,5 and 3. She never gave up on me. She always encouraged me to keep going and keep fighting. She said, as long as your strong and you don’t give up, there is always hope.

Chemotherapy and radiation failed. The tumor began to grow again. Then we found clinical trials and hoped and prayed to qualify and get accepted. Thank God, the doors were opened and I had a second craniotomy and began the stem cells infusion.

When we received new MRI results, we found that the tumor was growing again and a new tumor was also growing. It was heartbreaking but we kept praying and having hope. Again we tried another option of another clinical trial. It required a third craniotomy. But I was hesitant to have to recover from another surgery.

The day of the surgery, I was upset, and debating to cancel the surgery. Then my wife said, you only have two options, you have the surgery and say I tried my best, or you cancel the surgery, go home, and wait till the tumor kills you. But she wouldn’t force me to do anything I didn’t want to do. But I was at the 14 month mark, my wife explained to me how 50% of the patients with my diagnosis, died within 15 months. So I agreed to the surgery. I wasn’t ready to give up seeing my wife, children and family.

My recovery has been the most difficult of all. This has not been an easy journey, I am weak and fatigued. Emotionally, it is very difficult to be a man and not be able to do basic daily activities. I never realized how we take things for granted. My wife had to help me dress, shower, get out of bed and even get up from the sofa. Me, being a grown man, and not be able to care for myself. I don’t have the strength to play with my children. I’m still recovering from my third craniotomy, slowly, I take one day at a time.

Now, I am currently on a CarT cell clinical trail. I thank God and my wife for not letting me give up. At exactly 16 months from my diagnosis, I was told that my MRI scans show no tumor growth. A true miracle. Please don’t give up. Life is amazing. Thank God for everyday of life, every breath you breathe, everyday that you wake up and see you wife, your children, your family.

Opinions expressed within this story belong solely to the author and do not reflect the views or opinions of the National Brain Tumor Society.

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