Skip to content
BACK to Stories

Glioblastoma vs. Goals

Published on July 19, 2023 in Share Your Story

Guest Author: Janice A. in California

I received my glioblastoma diagnosis two years ago, at the age of 29. The MRI results, the brain surgery, the doctor visits, the second opinions, the support groups, the decisions I was being asked to make…at first, it all seemed so completely unreal. But slowly and surely, it began to sink in: The prognosis, the treatment, the endlessness of this disease as well as the finiteness. The prospect that at some point, sooner rather than later, I will be struggling to speak, to eat, to breathe, and to move.

For a short moment, I was at peace with it all. I was only 29, but I had already seen so much of this world. I had traveled to many countries, made many great friends, fallen in love and out of love and in love again. I had worked many hours in a fulfilling job that excited me. I had realized my lifelong dream of moving from my rural hometown in Germany to New York City! I had learned, I had laughed, I had cried. Overall, I had already lived a very happy, privileged life. 

Sure, I still had lots of plans and goals: I wanted to get promotions at work, wanted to hike the PCT from Mexico to Canada, to move to the West Coast, to buy a house, maybe even start a little family. But all of these goals seemed extremely irrelevant and impossible now that glioblastoma was trying to kill me. For a moment, it seemed like “stay alive for as long as possible” was the only plausible goal for the rest of my life…

But I didn’t want to just be alive — I wanted to live it as much as I possibly still could. So I started with small goals: “Get through radiation,” “finish your chemotherapy,” “hike 3 miles,” “run 15 minutes,” “celebrate your 30th birthday.” With the support of all the wonderful people in my life, I managed to accomplish every one of these small goals. And I moved on to much bigger ones. 

So, over the last two years with glioblastoma, I married my wonderful husband, moved to Los Angeles, adopted a dog, backpacked more than 50 miles, improved my rock-climbing, spent countless hours with friends and family, returned to work on a reduced schedule, got a certificate in Sustainability, joined a board of advisors, and started writing a book.

Why am I sharing this story? Because if you’re reading this (no matter whether you have glioblastoma or not), I hope you’re living your life to the fullest, whatever that may mean to you. If you’re as privileged as I am, I hope you’re trying to use every single second in a way that is meaningful to you and the people around you. And if you do have GBM, I wish that this gives you hope and the courage to keep chasing your goals.


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

See All News

Stay Informed & Connected