March is Brain Tumor Awareness Month and with a staggering statistic that states 16,000 people each year are diagnosed with a brain tumor, it likely hits closer to home than you’d think. There are over 120 types of brain tumors one can be diagnosed with – this makes diagnosis extremely difficult, especially because symptoms can mimic so many other diseases. On top of that, brain tumor research is severely underfunded and the lack of proper funds only serves to make diagnosis and treatment that much harder.
For the month of March, we wanted to bring you stories of survivors and of loved ones left behind to showcase how important it is to make a difference in the lives of people who are diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Here is a mother’s journey, as told by her daughter.
In October 2005, my mother Charity was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The tumor covered about 60% of her brain. At first, she was shocked, stunned, and unsure how to take it. She was in remission from ovarian cancer so the news was heartbreaking. She knew something was off when she started getting headaches that were unlike any she had previously. She would be dizzy, and unable to stand for long periods of time with the headaches, which was unusual. She went to the doctor to receive an MRI and when the results came back, the doctors told her she was terminal and wouldn’t make it past 6 months.
She was given two options. She could either go through radiation therapy to try and reduce the size of the tumors or decline therapy and let it takes it course. She opted to let it take its course.
It was the best thing she could have done. She decided that she wanted to spend her last days coherent and able to function with her children and family, she didn’t want to live her last days sick. My mom was the first person in the state of Michigan to receive an accelerated death benefit through her insurance company. It stated that if she was deemed terminal she would receive half of her life insurance policy before death. My mom and dad got a check in the mail and my dad handed it to my mom and said, “Here, go have some fun”.
My mom decided that she didn’t want to leave us hurting for anything, she couldn’t bear that thought. So, she took her money and bought new appliances, clothes, and bought my dad a new car to get to work. She spent her time not only creating memories with her children and family but making people aware of the signs and symptoms of having ovarian and brain cancer. She never wanted any woman to have to go through was she did. Every time we went to a grocery store, or a gas station she would hand out these pamphlets to every woman she came in contact with or even strangers on the street.
My mom was the kindest, sweetest soul on the planet. She had a love for all types of music, and whenever we got in the car the first thing she did was blast the radio. I know that if she was here today she would want everyone going through what she went through was to not stress. Live life to the fullest. I know she was scared and afraid during her last year and that she never once showed it. My mom lived a whole year and three months after she was diagnosed. I believe that her positive spirits and will to make her last days count helped her surpass that six-month mark she was given.
My mom may have passed but her spirit lives on.
If you want to get involved and help make a difference, please visit The Brain Tumor Charity and learn how you can change the lives of people across the world. No child or adult should have to suffer through life with a brain tumor, and when we choose to bring awareness to the cause, we could be helping lay the groundwork for a cure.