At the end of December 2001, a few weeks after my 21st birthday, my world came crashing down when my mother was diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme, the most aggressive brain tumor. Prognosis for this type of cancer is very poor. My mom had brain surgery on December 31st and started radiation therapy. However, a few months later, a scan showed the tumor had grown back. She had another surgery, but her health and cognitive function deteriorated quickly after that. My father tirelessly looked after her for months in at-home hospice care. The last months of her life, she was unable to move or communicate, a shell of her former feisty self. She passed away early the morning of April 1, 2003. She was not alone: each year over 14,000 people die in the United States from brain tumors. Worldwide, they cause an estimated 175,000 deaths per year.
With hope and love,Vanessa