Larry's Triumph Over Glioblastoma

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December 19, 2016 - Boardman, Ohio

My father was diagnosed with Grade IV Glioblastoma brain cancer in July. He began back in May to feel slight numbness in his right two fingers and would begin tripping with his right leg. We truly thought it was a back or nerve issue. He began saying he was having depth perception issues as well and his speech was never slurred.. just a slight hesitation of speech when he would talk. We took him in thinking that with an elevated blood pressure and the previous symptoms that he was having small strokes. The doctors in Youngstown actually told us that he had lesions in his brain and they were strokes. We came home to try and resolve the strokes only to find that he was getting worse each day. He would begin having seizures and his right side was getting weaker. His face was showing a drooping on his right side. We decided after 2 weeks to take him in again. This time the MRI showed that he had a large tumor in his brain. Since brain cancer is so rare, they had explained that the small piece they saw on his lung must have been cancer and it had spread to his brain~ basically explaining this would be stage 4.. terminal diagnosis. Instead of having brain surgery in Youngstown, we took my father to University Hospital in Cleveland, OH. We wanted a second opinion. They began ruling certain cancers and possibilities out throughout the week until they narrowed their search to the brain. On July 5, my father had brain surgery. The neurosurgeon came out to explain that they believed their findings were "gliomas" and that they could only get a sample~ they could not remove the tumor. At that time, we had no idea what a glioma was. A couple days went by and they explained that what he had was in fact a "glioblastoma." This was the most aggressive and most deadly brain cancer that one could have. They wanted my father to complete the chemo/radiation treatment, but the outcome never looked good. We ended up bringing my dad back to our local hospital for extensive rehab since he could not get radiation until his head wound healed. By now, his right side was practically non-functional~ almost paralyzed. He was also losing the ability to speak. He would receive speech, physical and occupational therapy daily. This helped for a while. Once he came home, he progressively declined in his physical abilities and could really no longer speak. We were blessed to go through every radiation treatment with my dad and the extensive chemo pill. During this time, my father was on a high dose of steroids to keep the swelling in the brain at a minimum. The steroids brought about a different personality that was not my dad's. My father never got mad, was so patient and always wanted to provide for us.. not the other way around. Seeing him impatient and upset was something difficult for me to handle. This cancer tried to rob him of his physical attributes and also his personality. My mother and I were 24/7 caregivers. Through his 7 month battle, we saw my father's highs and lows and we were able to experience some great times with him. We also saw the toll it took on his body.. we never realized that the steroid use caused blood marks on the body and also high blood sugar. He became a diabetic through the steroids so we were giving my father insulin just like a diabetic. Although my father couldn't talk and brain cancer tried to rob my father of everything~ my father was a follower of Jesus and it couldn't rob him of his salvation. Through the process of seeing my father weaken and pass away, he never lost sight of his family, the police force and his Lord. After his second round of chemo, we noticed it had taken its toll on my dad. We did not go through with the next treatment.. my father was too weak and he also formed blood clots (which I guess is normal in chemo patients) and they broke off.. causing 2 pulmonary embolisms. The doctors had us take my father home 2 days before Thanksgiving with hospice~ telling us he would probably pass away that night. My father was a fighter.. he fought through 2 additional weeks and would eat and respond to commands and smile. He was a fighter and my superhero. He fought the good fight and he finished the race. On December 13, my father passed away and went to be with the Lord. My father is now able to talk and walk and no longer under the restraint of brain cancer. I can tell you that the Lord blessed him.. through this process my father never had headaches, he was never in pain and he never got sick. It was a blessing.. so many doctors said that headaches and pain are very common. We thank God for the time we had with him and I wouldn't have traded caring for him for the world. Is it easy day to day seeing someone you love fading away? No, but I can tell you that it's a blessing to be there going through it with them~ I think my father was proud to know he had such support and love through this awful disease. Put your hope in the Lord~ He will see you through.