Through It All – Hope Remains
Brandon | Grade 3 Oligoastrocytoma | Diagnosed at Age 29
For years I would have migraines but did not think much about it. The migraines had increased in severity and in 2010 other symptoms developed. I began having head rushes, mood changes, difficulty sleeping and sharp pains behind my left ear. Once people started asking about a limp in my right leg, I decided that it was time to go get checked out.
On February 3, 2010 our lives shifted forever. An MRI revealed a tumor the size of a small grapefruit on the left side of my brain and later doctors confirmed – a grade III oligoastrocytoma. Expectations and dreams we had created faded away and we began to live in the reality of what each day brought into our path. I remember sharing with my wife that this is not about the tumor. This is a gift. This is what I have asked for… a way to share the love, grace and redemption of Christ.
The Drive to Move Forward
I underwent 14 hours of surgery to remove the tumor and woke up paralyzed on the right side of my body with significant speech loss. I spent the next five weeks in a rehab facility learning how to do everything over again – walking, talking, eating, writing – everything! As a husband and a father, I was determined to stay positive and motivated to battle brain cancer. This determination took me from a wheelchair, to a walker, to a cane, and then to walking and now being able to jog. Always taking one day at a time.
Since then, I have continued treatment including two rounds of radiation, six months of outpatient physical rehabilitation, 24 rounds of monthly chemotherapy along with a daily dose of chemotherapy. Our family has struggled with finances from the costs of treatment and medical bills. I’ve also struggled with the thought of death. We have good discussions with my son about what has taken place despite what at times seemed bleak. Through it all, HOPE remains. Steadfast. Unwavering. Looking forward with HOPE yet remembering all that lies behind.
Surround yourself with others you love and trust. I’m blessed to have a church that provides love and support. This journey has strengthened my faith in Christ, my relationship with my wife, Rachel, and allowed me to be a better father and disciple.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]