Five years ago, at age 32, I was unemployed and decided to take care of some of those routine doctor visits I usually did not have time for. One of those was a trip to the ophthalmologist to get my eyes checked. I walked in expecting a new prescription for glasses, I walked out making a direct beeline to the ER.
During the exam, the doctor discovered swelling in my optic nerves. I had NO symptoms whatsoever, so he was very shocked at what he saw. After being sent directly to the ER, meeting my parents there, receiving a CT, and fully passing all neuro-cognitive tests, I was told I had a large mass in my right frontal lobe.
Saying we were shocked is the understatement of the year. The next day, an MRI revealed it was a (5cm) Stage III Anaplastic Astrocytoma. Two weeks later I had the craniotomy/resection surgery and began the process of concurrent radiation and chemotherapy (Temodar) shortly thereafter.
Thanks to the AMAZING care I received at Penn Medicine, I just cleared the 5 year mark and I have no lasting physical effects from the ordeal. The motto here is, had I not kept up with my normal exams, this thing would have never been found early. It would have kept growing and likely transformed into a GBM, then only being discovered due to a traumatic event. Finding the tumor before the onset of symptoms made recovery easier and led to a more positive long term prognosis.