20 Year Cancer Milestone

11 Jan

After last Sunday’s #BTSMChat, I happened to come across a tweet inquiring if anyone was reaching a tumorversary or other milestone. This tweet obviously had me think back to when our life with brain cancer began and some of the milestones we celebrated along the way, there are thankfully a lot of good events to look back upon :-).

It’s been 20 years since Susie’s initial diagnosis and surgery. I still think back to how blessed we were that the local hospital’s neurosurgeon had the hubris to recommend Susie seek surgery and care at MD Anderson Cancer Center. The care Susie received at MD Anderson was outstanding and the love/ support from our family and friends was heavenly.

Susie’s clinical trial experience was challenging. Outside of physical fatigue, I think having delays and emergency hospital visits/ treatment associated with low platelets (thrombocytopenia) and low white blood cells (neutropenia) incurred an emotionally toll. We wondered if the complications meant treatment was not effective, would she be kicked off the clinical trial and other self doubts/ worries. Radiation treatment went smoothly until around week 4, but Susie persevered. All of her siblings came into town for a surprise party celebrating the end of her cancer treatment. We were overjoyed.

End of Treatment Party

Afterwards, we would visit friends/ family in California and New England. But I think our first trip to New Mexico, which was just us and a couple of years after treatment finished, was the point where we started to feel we found a new stride in life. The trip was truly enchanting, but I feel we had been transformed through the past few years to really soak the experience in.

Even with Susie’s Glioblastoma recurrence in 2013, I am amazed at how she continues to defy brain cancer. Nevertheless, I am most thankful Susie has kept her smile throughout the last twenty years. Life is truly a rollercoaster. Some people scream, Susie laughs.

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Carlsbad Caverns
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White Sands
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Bandalier
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Red River
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Smokey the Bear