- 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.