My father, Leonard was diagnosed with glioblastoma (Stage IV) on January 20, 2016. Dad passed away in August. His struggle was long and grueling and came out of the blue. My dad was a proud 72 year old who worked part time at BJ’s Deli cutting lunch meat. He was known as the “Cheeseman” to all the kiddos who came in.
My dad noticed while he was cutting lunch meat one day that the meat was “moving” in his hand and did not at all look like lunch meat. Dad had started hallucinating. He left work and came home and it continued throughout the night. At 5 a.m. the next day, mom and I took him to the Emergency Room of our local hospital. Dad had just gotten over a terrible sinus infection and we thought this was stemming from that. They performed many tests and dad continued to see flowers, bugs on the wall, and even a “birds nest” in my hair.
This was all very frightening, but the worst was the following morning when the neurologist came in with the results from his MRI. They sat us down to tell us dad had a golf ball size tumor in his brain, and they would be transferring him down to University of Pennsylvania hospital, which is approximately one hour south of us. Dad was taken by ambulance to Penn, and by the next morning was diagnosed with Stage IV glioblastoma. It was the most devastating thing I have ever heard. Life turned into a whirlwind and dad was scheduled for brain surgery on January 29.
The next few weeks before surgery, everything was a blur…like we were on auto pilot. Doctors telling us how our lives would change and what our next steps would be. It was crazy! Dad was put on steroids and the hallucinations slowed down a bit. Surgery was completed on January 29 and dad was there for 5 days.
Radiation was scheduled to begin early March along with Chemo pill. Dad seemed to be hopeful as they told him if he had surgery it would give him approximately 18 months of quality life. Dad seemed okay throughout February. Chemo started March 4 and he only was able to do four treatments before he lost it one night at home and destroyed my mother’s bedroom, telling her she was keeping him hostage there and he wanted to leave. I went right over and sat with dad all night.