My name is Jeanne. I’ve had two favorite guys in my life. The first was my dad Robert Herzog (Pops). He was diagnosed with GBM in 1997 and passed away 8 months later. His options for treatment were very limited. He was beautiful, kind, smart and funny. He lost some functioning over the months but not his kindness and his ability to make us laugh. I miss him every day. So do my nine brothers and sisters. My mom became a widow at 67. And, so did I!
My other favorite guy was my husband Dan Benavides. He was also beautiful, kind, smart, and funny! GBM, diagnosed in 2019, did not take those away from him, but it did affect his functioning and so did the treatments. He was fortunate to be able to have a major resection by an incredible surgeon, chemo, and radiation.
Other than a couple of other smaller surgeries, he went for almost three years with no other treatments such as chemo or radiation. His regular MRI checks kept coming up stable! We were able to travel, work on our house, visit with family, hike, bike, welcome new friends, and make our relationship with each other even stronger.
Dan had some speech and language issues, as well as memory loss. And, over time, he became a weaker and more tired. But he enjoyed every day of his four years, finding joy in simple beauty. He was a humble and grateful survivor for four years. He was not ready to go. And, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.
I can’t possibly be angry because GBM is so random, and no one deserves it. And, I can’t be upset about his journey, because he and I made the best of it every day. And, we learned to live with gratitude, which is a gift. But I am incredibly sad and I miss both my favorite guys every day. Today is #GBMDay. On this day, I hope that all those living with GBM, present and in the future, get the benefit of excellent treatment and more time. And, I hope that their caregivers find the support that I did in their treatment providers and organizations like the National Brain Tumor Society.
I am a psychologist and I specialize in health-related psychology. Helping people adjust to health and medical issues, illnesses, and injuries. I knew I could help my husband cope with his diagnosis. And I found all the right people who could, in turn, help me as Dan’s caregiver. In others we’ve met who live with or care for someone with GBM, I found support, friendship, trust, and partnership. Just what I needed.