Paul's Story

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January 29, 2013

Everyone expects to wake-up to see the sun and get ready for work...

At the end of March 1980, I woke-up on a stretcher with a paramedic telling me to relax that I had a seizure and they were taking me to the hospital for an evaluation. In 1980 I was given all the tests available to try and find out what caused my seizure but unfortunately the MRI wasn't invented and my tumor wasn't found. I was prescribed Dilantin and Phenobarbital to control my seizures. It worked for 10 years. I had another seizure at work in 1991. At this time the MRI was available and a tumor was detected and later I was told it was an Astrocytoma. The tumor was about the size of a golf ball and was removed, followed by 30 treatments of radiation. During this time my wife, Bev, was fighting breast cancer and needless to say the stress was far beyond what we were used to. Together we fought. She lost her battle in 1996 to the "beast." I promised to fight the "beast" and keep the family together. During this period I had to deal with my health issues and put Jen and Matt (our children) through college.

I continued to have MRI's every 3-4 months and after 12 years in Dec 2003, a spot of concern showed up on my MRI. My tumor came back but it wasn't diagnosed as an astrocytoma. Thank god!! I was being kept on such a close watch. When they found the tumor this time it was about the size of a grain of rice. Unfortunately I came down with a sinus infection and the surgery was put on hold until the sinus infection was gone. I was told any infection was a cause to delay the surgery. I finally had surgery on Jan 22, 2004. That's when I got the bad news about the misdiagnosis. The tumor was an acute astrocytoma grade 3. At this time, I really couldn't grasp the meaning of how bad the prognosis was. I had to retire and live for the day. After 6 months, I couldn't stand living like I was going to die. I got myself motivated and started to live! I got a part time job to help keep me in touch with people, got back to biking, golfing and working out. Life is great!

Life was going well, unfortunately I wasn't picking up on the little symptoms. For example, I would drop and spill items frequently. On a scheduled MRI in late April 2009, there was another area of concern which needed to be removed. This was going to be my most difficult surgery to recover from. How many times will the brain allow it to be cut without adverse reactions? This time my balance was a major issue and the ability to control my left hand. Yes, I'm a lefty. Walking was a major concern as well. After a lot of physical therapy and positive thinking, I overcame the "beast" again.

Without the support from my family and friends and faith, I don't think I would be capable of the successful recovery that I have had. I just took my last dose of Temador, another 6 months of nausea is behind me. Like I said before "life is good" and now it's time for fun!!!

I have been asked, "What do you do to have won this battle for so long?" The battle is never over! I feel that I'm not going to let this "beast" control me. I like to look at me doing the best I can in controlling the " beast." I recommend MRI's no more than 4 months a part so you can catch the tumor early.

Smile. . . .be happy. . .laugh and have fun today!!