The Great Connector
It’s a dreary Monday morning in late September, but Molly is upbeat.
“ZOOM, FLY—life is too short!” she practically yells over the phone from her home near Detroit.
Molly’s brain tumor diagnosis in October 2016 has given her a “zoom” superpower, she says, “an urgent drive to live her best life, right now.” Sitting in her first MRI three years ago, Molly says she was faced with two paths—give in to fear or embrace her situation. She chose the latter.
Molly was diagnosed in the ER with a brain tumor—deep in her left temporal lobe—after having a seizure during lunch at a local coffee shop. Soon after, her neuro-oncologist called to inform her that the tumor was malignant—a grade III anaplastic astrocytoma. Molly ran out to her front porch and let out a blood-curdling scream. She was in shock. But after meeting with her neuro-oncologist, Molly felt better. “I’m pretty realistic, I don’t want false hope, I just want real talk,” she told him. “I left thinking, okay, I’m not gonna die right now.”
Molly received standard of care treatment (craniotomy, radiation and one year of oral chemotherapy), but was initially allergic to the chemotherapy. She ended up having to take it in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, until her body could eventually tolerate it and she could take it at home. “It was complicated, annoying and scary,” she reflects.
It’s now been three years and the disease remains stable, but Molly still deals with “scanxiety” just before her MRI follow-up every three months. She finds comfort in the many friendships she’s made with other survivors, like her friend Sabine, whom she met at the American Brain Tumor Association National Conference.
Sabine says Molly’s strength is making connections. “She’s always reaching out to the newly diagnosed and helping share resources, one-on-one. She’s very outgoing and tries to help people. I really like that about her.”
“The ABTA National Conference gave me an opportunity to meet some AMAZING people who have similar journeys and perspectives,” Molly said. “When you’re diagnosed with a brain tumor, it can often feel lonely, which is why it’s so important for me to stay involved with the ABTA community.”