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    Posted May 21, 2008 by
    Grove City, Pennsylvania
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Surviving a brain tumor

    7 year Glioblastoma Multiforme survivor


    My name is Carla Parish and I am a seven year survivor of  a glioblastoma multiforme. According to my doctors, I am the longest surivor of a GBM out of Children's Hospital in Pittsurgh, Pennsylvania.  When I was 17 years old I began to have horrible headaches, and was diagnosed by my family doctor with migranes (which I never had before).  Before I knew it I was on a narcotic and nothing seemed to keep the pain away.  By the end of two weeks of continuous headaches I was unable to keep any food or liquids down, and my mother took me to the emergency room.  Once there, my mother was told again that I had a migrane.  She asked what they normally did for people who have migranes and the nurse said, "We give them a CAT scan."  My mother said, "Well that is what I want."  I am very lucky that my mother was so insistent.  I was sent in for a CAT scan and moments later we were told that there was a golfball-sized tumor in my right frontal lobe, and that I would have to be rushed to Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh for emergency surgery.  We were later told that if we had waited just a few more hours to go to the hospital that I would have suffered a grand maul seziure which could have left me with severe brain damage.  I was whisked away to Children's Hospital and was put through seven hours of surgery.  I spent the next four days recovering in the hospital and then went home.  I found out shortly after that I had a glioblastoma multiforme and that I would have to start aggressive treatment as soon as possible.  I was given twenty-four doses of radiation combined with the chemotherapy drug Temodar ( I was in a clinical trial).  I was given a year to live, although I was not told this at the time.  I was blessed with the support of family and friends, and my community which definately helped.  This happened during my senior year of high school, and I had to be home schooled all year. I lost nearly all of my hair and sometimes wore a wig-- which was one of the hardest parts for me.   A happy time worth mentioning was when I was approached by Make a Wish and was able to go to Hawaii with my entire family once I finished my treatment.  My battle with cancer was a very difficult time in my life, but I put my life in God's hands and did my best to live a normal life.  Today, the only problem I have resulting from the tumor is slight short term memory loss, which I have learned to deal with. I went on to graduate from high school and then attended college just as the rest of my friends.  I am now 25 years old, have completed a Bachelors and Masters degree in History, and recently married this past January.  I have been completely cancer-free since my surgery and treatment.   I will be celebrating 8 years this June and am incredibly thankful to be alive.  My doctors say that it is truely a miracle that I am alive, and I think that they are right.  I hope that other people will hear my story and be inspired to never lose hope and to never give up.

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