My father passed away 9 years ago today. There isn’t a day where he isn’t missed and we see him daily in the various things we do. Coincidentally, July 21, 2021 is also Glioblastoma Awareness Day, for the disease that took my father from us.
There are over 120 different kinds of brain tumors and glioblastomas are the most complex, deadly, and treatment resistant cancers. It’s five year relative survival rate is only 7.2% and the median survival is only 8 months. Approximately 13,000 Americans will receive a glioblastoma diagnosis in 2021 and it is estimated that more than 10,000 Americans will succumb to a glioblastoma each year.
When my father was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, 10 years ago, his life forever changed. He was still working and in today’s vernacular would have been referred as an essential worker at St Josephs Hospital in Bethpage, New York. Side effects from the initial removal of his brain tumor, left a weakness in the right side of his body making it difficult to perform the simple tasks most of us take for granted. Although his chemotherapy and hyperbolic radiation treatments went well at first, his chemotherapy treatments eventually ceased due to he was allergic to his chemo drug, Tremedor. His brain tumor eventually returned, this time in an inoperable part of the brain. He passed away a month later, just three days shy of his 67th birthday.
I prefer to remember my father for the person he was, the quiet, gentle soul, and for the impact he left on all those who knew him. However, I know it is also important to share this story in conjunction of both events today, to bring awareness that more needs to be done. It isn’t right that glioblastoma patients don’t have the same chance of survival and don’t have the various treatment options than other cancer patients. Hopefully in the near future, better treatments and a cure will be found for this horrible disease.