I am living with GBM


Karen Turner has lived nearly eight years with glioblastoma. Still every four months she returns to her doctor for a brain scan, and each appointment brings uncertainty and a rush of feelings not dissimilar to her original diagnosis. “It does not end with the last chemo treatment,” Karen says. “Because GBM is always lurking around the corner.”

Meet Karen Turner

Karen Turner has lived nearly eight years with glioblastoma. She knows this fact puts her amongst the fortunate few — roughly five-percent to be more specific — to reach this survivorship milestone for this aggressive type of brain tumor. To this she quotes poet Langston Hughes, “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.” Every four months she returns to her doctor for a brain scan, and each appointment brings uncertainty and a rush of feelings not dissimilar to her original diagnosis. “It does not end with the last chemo treatment,” Karen says. “Because GBM is always lurking around the corner.”

Karen’s original diagnosis in December 2011 was sudden, without warning (save for some trouble typing), and the grim prognosis upended her life. She spent the next 13 months undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments that were physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing. “It was miserable to say the least,” Karen says. “I couldn’t eat. Then all I did was eat. I couldn’t sleep. Then all I did was sleep. I lost weight. Then, you guessed it, I gained weight.”

While difficult, Karen did all she could to remain hopeful and persevere. “I was blessed to have had access to the very best, specialized life-saving medical and scientific technology my condition required, exactly when and where I needed it,” she says. “The advancements that made this possible for me would not have been available had it not been for publicly and privately funded research; research that must continue until a cure for brain cancer is found.”

Today, Karen is living life to the fullest. She’s started a new career, watched her daughter grow into a “remarkable young woman,” traveled the world, and even wrote her first novel.

She also gives back all she can to the fight against brain tumors.

“I’ve been lucky,” Karen says. “But we must continue research to improve treatments, provide a better quality of life for patients, and, of course, find a cure.” That’s why since 2012, months after her GBM diagnosis and during radiation and chemotherapy, she began participating in the Race for Hope—DC as a team captain. “My team, Team Incredibles, returns bigger and bolder every year, because we know that by raising money we can help the cause. Each stride we take raises hope, not just for us, but for everyone impacted by this disease.”

Karen is FUELING HOPE for better treatments, cures, and parents watching their children grow up.

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