I took these photos of the newspaper article that came out on Sunday. Christy Barritt did a great job on the article. The article began on the front page with a photo of Mike and there was a family photo on the inside page. The kids were pretty excited! I’m excited because it is spreading not only Brain Cancer Awareness, but I was also able to share the faith that I have that God is providing. I’m still believing that God will provide financially, emotionally and physically!
I hope this article was inspiring to those who came across it and that it gave hope to others battling cancer. It has already encouraged some to get second opinions. Mikes doctor that initially removed the surgery did a great job and was an amazing surgeon. But he told me not to call Duke. He said there was one option no matter where we went – standard care (radiation and chemo).
For those with brain tumors who are seeking information on the brain tumor center at Duke where Mike is receiving treatment, this link has more information, and has an Adult patient self-referral form – that is where I started to get Mike to Duke. I filled out the form and Dr Henry Friedman called me back within a couple of hours. I am so thankful for a special lady (Karen) who has already been down the path. She encouraged me to contact Duke before beginning treatment so that Mike was eligible for the clinical trial. Another thing that Karen told me at the very beginning is that I am now Mikes advocate. If you are a family member of someone that is fighting cancer, you are now their advocate. You have to fight for them when they are too weak. You have to ask questions when the doctors are in the room and the patient is not feeling well enough to even know what questions to ask. I have spent countless hours on the computer sending messages, researching, making phone calls, and planning. It is time consuming and it is exhausting. Its not something you ever thought you would face. But this is something you CAN face.
My first piece of advice? Seek God.
Karen also shared this video with me when Mike was first diagnosed. It was a real eye opener for me on the severity of the battle we are facing. Watching this video was the first time I heard that brain cancer is the most lethal type of cancer. Its the first time that I heard that a lot of doctors see this as a death sentence. But it also gave me hope. It gave me hope that the doctors at Duke were going to be honest with the severity (because we don’t understand all of this – we need guidance and honesty) and that they are passionately fighting brain cancer and that their goal is to be proactive and that they have long term survivors. I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am that God stepped in. My first reaction to everything is to just go with the flow and believe it will all work out. I don’t question authority much. (and the local doctor, to me, was the authority on tumors and brain cancer – he certainly knew more than me) I didn’t even think to question the initial doctors plan on treatment, but God sent me Karen who gave me the information and that push to fight for the best treatment available. God put the push in Mikes family as well as they encouraged me to make sure Mike had the best specialized treatment possible. If Mike would have started local treatment, he wouldn’t have been eligible for the clinical trial at Duke. I’m amazed when I look back at how quickly everything happened and how God gave me the strength. I wouldn’t have thought I’d have the strength or energy for all that.
I feel like this journey so far has been one of those follow the dots pictures – only I don’t know what the big picture looks like – I’m just following the dots one at a time believing that it is going to have a beautiful outcome.