Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nancy's Cancer Journey

Cancer is the best thing that has ever happened to me, in a weird way, that is... Just after my 30th birthday, the last thing I would suspect would be Cancer! Let alone, it was in my Brain! What!?! I learned a great deal through my journey dealing with my diagnosis of a Grade III, Anaplastic Astrocytoma in the right frontal lobe of my brain.

After my craniotomy, it took a few days before I was able to move my left side. The tumor was located in the area of the brain that controlled mobility, decision making, personality, etc... First, I was able to move my left leg and then soon my left arm came back. I had trouble thinking of words to say. I knew what I wanted to say but I had a hard time retrieving the word. I went through intense rehab to learn how to do daily activities like thinking, walking, bathing, etc.. It was so frustrating because I knew how to do it but my brain wouldn't send the message to the parts of my body to allow me to do such a simple act of opening and closing my left hand. When I saw the progress of how much I was improving, it made me stronger and to want to keep fighting!

Soon after I gained strength back, the next phase of my journey was treatment; so this stuff never comes back and I can continue to enjoy a full and happy life! I endured 6 1/2 weeks of radiation in conjunction with chemo by pill. My father and I would take the hour long trip to get my "spa treatments" at the hospital and the hour long trip back home. During this time I thought, it was a good way for my dad and I to spend quality time together. It's not ideal, but you make the best of what you got!

Last Day of Radiation!

The final phase is 6 rounds of oral chemo. I'll be finished right around my year anniversary of when I was diagnosed. In a year I have learned so much about myself and about life. I always thought I'm the lucky one. I'm so glad this happened to me! The lessons I learned through this journey are priceless! My life is now so much richer in so many ways!

My family and friends were a great support but I needed more. During treatment, I felt alone. I'm so glad that I found UCF! I wanted to talk to others around my age that were going through similar situations that I was going through. It really helped me cope with my diagnosis, telling my story out loud to complete strangers. I have met such helpful people and listened to inspiring stories through this organization. All the people I have met through UCF I feel like I have a connection with...and I do, Cancer, that's a good thing!

Nancy Arthur
Brain Cancer Survivor

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