My Miracle

Printer Friendly

February 19, 2014 - Spartanburg, , South Carolina

My son, Brian J. Anderson, Jr. was diagnosed with GBM on April 1, 2009 following a complete resection / removal of the softball sized tumor in the right side of his head. He had just turned 26 years old in December. The events leading up to surgery in the months prior are heart wrenching, and are too many to write here. Immediately following surgery Brian received a course of radiation for 6 weeks and chemotherapy (temodar) lasting 24 months. The chemotherapy treatment in the form of a pill was extended for many more months than recommended due to how well Brian tolerated it, as well as not having any signs of other health issues. On April 1, 2014, just five weeks from now Brian will reach the five year mark of being tumor free!!! He has beaten GBM!!!! This is HUGE! Brian is alive and living a remarkable life. His only limitation is the loss of his peripheral vision due to the last few weeks where the tumor grew so large and smashed some of his optical nerves. Of course, Brian's immune system and short term memory were weakened, but he takes good care of himself, and is working on memory skills. Brian remains on Kepra, and just ended a dose of Lexapro for some depression following surgery. But who wouldn't be depressed after learning you have six weeks to live, your young wife of six years takes your two babies and moves away with them, and you can no longer work, RIGHT??? Now I will explain why Brian is still with us on this planet today. His faith in God and his strong religious connection with his church has kept Brian involved and happy. Brian chose early on NOT to join support groups for his cancer. He had to think about the GBM every second already and chose to escape from that subject by going back to teaching Sunday school and doing church work which he continues today. So God is the reason he is living today. Secondly Brian has amazing doctors. Dr. Jeff Cattorini in Plano, Texas (Medical Center of Plano) removed the tumor for nine hours on Friday March 13, 2009 using the brand new Brain Suite. Dr. Karen Fink at Baylor followed up for over a year. Dr. Howard Coleman at the new Huntsman Cancer Center in Salt Lake City, Utah was passed the baton and continued excellent care for another eight months. Brian then moved in with his step dad and me in Los Angeles where Dr. Timothy Cloughsey heading the UCLA Brain Cancer Center in Westwood entered Brian in his research program there. Dr. Cloughsey with his fellows kept a close eye on Brian, and studied his tumor and gave amazing care. Right before leaving LA, Brian and I were invited to attend a three day symposium on brain cancer hosted by Dr. Cloughsey at UCLA. We attended and we then drove from California to begin a new life in South Carolina armed with very valuable knowledge about GBM. To date Brian is at Gibbs Cancer Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Jimmy Gibbs, the namesake of the gorgeous state of the art cancer center immediately connected Brian with the two top doctors here, Dr James Bearden, and Dr. Josey. Both doctors continue to take excellent care of Brian. This brain cancer journey has been the most impossible journey but not without so much love and compassion from so many. Brian has a winning attitude and is busy searching for a cure, a new wife, and children hopefully someday, but also is smart enough to understand GBM and the high risks associated with it. I hope this true story will give hope and faith to others in our GBM family. With love, Tracy Frate, Brian's Mom