Three year Glioblastoma Survivor!

These pictures from three years ago represent such a different lifestyle.  A lifestyle where Mike was strong and healthy….And, as those close to us know, he was a little bit more rough around the edges. 😉 Thank God for softening him up for this stage of our lives. Some brain tumor patients become mean and irritable because of the location of their tumor.  I’m thankful that isn’t the case with Mike right now even though we did experience that with the steroids.  He always wanted me and the kids to be outside doing yard work or fixing stuff with him and I’d ask if we could just all clean the house together.  I realized that cleaning inside was my happy place and fixing stuff outside and doing manual labor outside was his happy place when he had a day off. We both enjoyed productivity though. We both enjoyed getting stuff done. I’m so glad the older kids and I chipped in and participated in his happy place before it all changed.  It’s crazy to look at these pictures and to know now that brain cancer was already affecting little things and we didn’t realize it at the time.  He’s always been amazing at math, and when we were doing the calculations for the materials for our fence he was struggling to make sense of the measurements.  Now we know it was because of the brain tumor. Now he can’t even count or add and subtract simple numbers.  He was having neck and head pain and he thought maybe he had injured something putting the posts in.

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Mothers Day 2012 was when we first knew something was very wrong with Mike. He could not get out of bed due to a headache and confusion. He spent 48 hours in bed and I was concerned, but after the weekend was over he got up and went to work. I spent Mothers Day that year working on yard work by myself while he was in bed. I finished putting the last of the pickets on the fence alone. It took about a month to figure out it was his brain. He just kept telling me his brain wasn’t working right and he couldn’t think. He was struggling with severe headaches and confusion off and on. It wasn’t until June that we had the moment in the ER with the CT Scan that we knew there was a mass on his brain and that he had quite a bit of brain swelling. It was crazy because he was supposed to leave for Japan for a business trip on Friday, but severe brain swelling led to confusion on Thursday that couldn’t be ignored so I took him to the ER. Instead of being in Japan the next week, he had brain surgery. He never was able to fully work again. He went to work all through radiation and the start of chemo but he wasn’t functioning fully to do his cyber security job. I will never forget the moment the doctors took the kids out of the room to give us the news. I feel nauseous just thinking about it.

Sharon Elizabeth Photography was able to squeeze us in for family photos between his hospital stay and brain surgery.  The top of our to-do list was to update the power of attorney and will and to have family photos taken. 🙂

Sharon Elizabeth Photography

Sharon Elizabeth Photography

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Sharon Elizabeth Photography

Mike is a three year Glioblastoma survivor!! He has been on hospice for 4 months.  There were times that we thought he was nearing the end, but he continues to surprise us!  I remember last May deciding to end the chemo and hoping that we could salvage the summer.  We hoped he would live though the summer but we didn’t know if he would because he was so fragile….now we are entering another summer! It’s crazy.

These photos are from this past weekend.  All I wanted for Mother’s Day was to be sure we snapped a family photo together.

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I know I’m jumping around with this post, but here are a few random pictures of Mike from the past three years.

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I never know who’s reading these blog posts, so I’d love for you to leave a comment and let us know you were here!


24 responses to “Three year Glioblastoma Survivor!

  • Ina

    I am glad that Mike is still fighting GBM and you’re a strong woman. I am in this journey only from 2014 December and sometimes I feel so anxios and desperated. Wish you strength and never lose hope, there can be miracle. Best wishes!

  • Terry Stephens

    Hi, It was great reading about your family and the journey that Mike has been on. I had my surgery on March 19, 2015 and in my second week of chemo/radiation and I will have my MRI’s at Duke Hospital beginning in July and every 2 months. I was in banking for over 34 years and started having trouble with my daily work and a few light headaches. My mother had just passed away in Oct of 2014 with a long battle of Alzheimer’s Disease and I was so afraid I was getting this and so I called my doctor and he had xrays set up for me and then 2 days later I was having brain surgery and 98% was removed and I started reading more and more how this disease is just as terrible. God has always been with me since I was 9 years old and I am not afraid and have been so blessed! I hope to fight this disease and help anyone I can. Reading about Mike and your family has given me more hope and you all will be in my prayers as well as his doctors. **my husband’s name is Mike too!lol Take care! Terry

  • Symyra Holloway

    Shauna, I want you to know the Holloway Family reads every one of your post and have been from day one. As a matter of fact, I have every one of them in a folder on my desktop marked “Mike Emmons blogs”. Our prayers has been going up to OUR FATHER every since this battle began….and as we see, the blessings have been coming down for almost three years now. I just find so much more strength and faith to run this race every time I read your blog!! God is such a good, merciful, and gracious God! I know it gets hard sometimes, but you keep the faith Shauna and we’re going to keep the prayers rolling! Mike probably doesn’t remember us, but if one of his good days show that he just might remember…let him know that Thomas and Symyra prays for him daily! And we truly remember all of the good laughs his silly behind gave us. (I’m smiling now!) Keep these blogs coming because you are truly an inspiration to my soul!! GOD BLESS

  • Misty

    I’ve been following your blog and posts since day one. You’re always in my thoughts and prayers. I’ve never seen such strength and devotion to God in all my years. You’re family is an inspiration. God does amazing things, and I feel that through your struggles, you have brought many people to Him. I love y’all. 🙂

  • Janet

    Shauna, you don’t know me. I came to your blog while researching glioblastoma when a friend of mine was diagnosed. I have been reading your entries almost since the beginning. Mike, you and your children have been on my prayer list all that time as well. Thank you for being realistic about living in this situation. I will continue to pray for your family.

  • tryingtosurviveonemomentatatime

    I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now. My dad was diagnosed in March 2012 and only made it 10 months. Your strength is amazing. Thank you for sharing your life. I do know how you are feeling and the stress and anxiety that comes with the unknown. Just know you aren’t alone. There are many people praying and hoping the best for you and your beautiful family.

  • Bethany white

    Currently sitting in car pool line crying my eyes out. Thank you for sharing. You’ve touched my life in many more ways than you will ever know. I still remember your first post about mike and his brain. I remember his first surgery and his first day of chemo. You have really opened my eyes to how strong a person can be. You are that living example. You and mike.

  • Julia

    My mom was diagnosed with GBM in January 2015. I found your blog through a support group on Facebook that we both belong to. You writing & beautiful photos have captured my attention. I can’t fathom all that you have dealt with over the last 3 years – you’re strength & class shine through in each of your messages. ❤

  • Jill Putney

    I have been following you and your blog for a while, Im sorry, time is kind of a blur for me:) I am a member of the GBM facebook group too…I lost my lil brother to GBM last July…he was 41 and honestly, the last year, when he was off the meds, were the best… he came back, was present, and I will cherish that year forever as being the year that I really got to know him…God Bless you, and Mike, and your whole family…One Love, Jill:)~

  • Nicole Vaughn

    I see all your posts on the GBM Support group on FB, and I try to read your blog at least monthly. My step dad was diagnosed January 2014. As of date, it has not spread at all, which is shocking considering the doctors told my mother he probably wouldn’t survive six months. Your strength through this amazes me, you find optimism in every moment which serves as a reminder to me what really matters in life. There’s so much that we cannot control, but what we do have control of is our ATTITUDE. I cannot express enough how beautiful your writings are, your pictures, the posts reach out to all who endure the same struggles, they teach others, it offers support and inspiration. You remind me what is really important in this life. I somehow know that at some point in the future, we too will most likely see my step dad pass from this horrible beast. I just want to thank you for sharing your story. You share your joys, and your challenges with everyone and even though I don’t know you personally, I feel as you take us with you through every step. Thank you for impacting others whom you don’t even know, we all feel connected to you through your writings.
    I pray for you and your family,

    Thank you,
    Nicole Vaughn

  • robin jamiola

    I am in awe of you, Mike, and the kids. You give each other strength, and if there is ever any way we can help make daily life a little easier, please don’t hesitate to let us know. It would be our honor to help a fellow military family! For now, I am grateful to know your sweet family, and read about these daily miracles God has bestowed.

  • Rachael

    God bless him. I came across your story on the GBM Facebook page and have been following you guys. I recently lost my mom in November to GBM after two years…

  • Susan Baucom

    Thank you for sharing your story. Unfortunately, I have not not seen your blog before. My husband was diagnosed 7 mo. ago. I will continue to read it. I wish you and your family peace and happiness.

  • arlyn

    Dear Shauna,
    We also follow your blog and beautiful pictures as we travel a similar journey. Please know how much we appreciate your taking the time to share your feelings and experiences – checking for your posts is one of the first things I do every day, as well as hoping you and your family have more good moments than bad each day. We’re on opposite sides of the country yet we feel so close to you. Keep on keeping on.

  • Natalia Cooney

    Wow Shauna! I am so happy for you and Mike to still have each other and to function as a family. He is a strong guy and you are an incredibly strong woman! Your love and stong desire to do anything for your husband is so obvious. Enjoy every minute of this life that you have. From another warrior wife. . sadly I know exactly what you are going through. . Hugs

  • Bill Pendergrass

    good to see all the pictures very handsome family. Praying for you daily! Love Uncle Bill and Aunt Joan

  • MariaMLT

    Hello Shauna. I’m so glad to have found your blog shortly after my husband’s diagnosis in June of 2014. Thank you for being so honest about your days together along with your children. I admire your incredible strength! It gives me strength! Please know that I think of you often and I am always sending positive energy your way.

  • Lynn

    Hey Shauna, I’ve followed you for over a year now, my Sis had GBM4 and died in January, unfortunately we only had her 11 months from diagnosis and she is very sorely missed.

    Love and light to you and your family, all the way from Scotland x

  • Glen Taylor

    Mike has always been a fighter and he will always be a fighter. I wish we were closer but Mike will to fight and your strength are inspiring to us all and hopefully are bringing comfort and hope to others.

  • DWC

    We are about to approach our 3 year anniversary from dx. June 2012 our world turned upside down. At the age of 42 my husband was diagnosed with GBM right frontal lobe. Throughout the past 3 years, he has had an amazing quality of life. We have had our roller coaster of issues from blood clots to lung, Steven Johnson Syndrome from seizure meds to pneumonia. He always pulled through and always with a smile on his face. Like you, we made the journey to Duke for two years for clinical trial but the time has come that nothing more can be done. Cancer is progressing and only on Avastin now with the hopes it will slow it down enough to give us more time. I am amazed and hopeful when I read your post how well your husband is doing with no treatment. I know its not perfect but so happy you could share Mothers Day and have another picture taken. Keep going and thanks for giving so many others who are traveling this road Hope. Best Wishes.

  • Ryan Kelleher

    Shauna,

    I’ve never posted in the comments, but have followed Mikes story since his diagnosis. I worked with him before and after his diagnosis. I was in Japan with the rest of the team, when we heard it might be serious.
    I am/have been overwhelmed with the onslaught of this specific cancer and its effect on a great boss and friend.
    I am not religious, but I still find myself asking whomever will listen to my private thoughts to bless your family. Your strength and ability to capture moments photographically really highlight the trials of Mikes battle in beautiful ways while providing eye opening insight into a horrific ailment.

    Thank you for sharing these moments with us, god bless.

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