jomcclendon's Journey with Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors in Adults

Survivor: Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors in Adults

Patient Info: Finished active treatment more than 5 years ago, Diagnosed: over 11 years ago, Female, Age: 61

  1. 1
    over 4 years ago
    jomcclendon's Avatar

    Chemotherapy

    Drug or Chemo Therapy

    Approx. 5 months of chemotherapy, mostly hospital bound for weeks at a time. Because of the tumor's impact upon my brain, much of what transpired was relayed to me by my loved ones as I had difficulty comprehending the present. My first thoughts after diagnosis was, "There is a greater good here." I just didn't know what that greater goodwould encompass. But a peaceful Godly feeling was within, and I trusted that all would be well. Upon completion of my chemotherapy I was left with, "We'll just wait and see" from my oncologist. I suppose they would be waiting to see if the cancer returns. I couldn't let that happen. What else is available out there? And my journey, and new life, began.

    Easy to Do: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Side Effects: Strongly Disagree
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Strongly Disagree
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  2. 2
    over 4 years ago
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    Left up to me

    Radiation

    Having spoken with radiation oncologists, as well as my oncologist, it was left up to me whether or not to undergo radiation. I was told that if you put 10 physicians in a room 5 would probably say yes to radiation and 5 would probably say no....so ultimately it was up to me. My choice was not to receive radiation but to leave it on the table if ever needed in the future. I still believe that was the best choice I made. Having been told that the percentage chance of my brain cancer returning would be about 95% or more I decided to explore possibilities outside western medicine. And my story continues with accupuncture and Chinese herbs. I am blessed!

    Painless Experience: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Side Effects: Neutral/NA
    Minimal Impact to Daily Life: Neutral/NA
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  3. 3
    over 4 years ago
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    My mind/Sense of Humor

    Loss

    I truly lost my mind for several weeks, if not close to months. But never, never would I lose my sense of humor. In fact, more laughs were generated during the recovery period than ever. Having lost my ability to think, remember, and comprehend has given me a greater appreciation for each and every day, and for those loved ones in my life. Unfortunately, a secondary loss was my 21 year marriage. My husband served me with divorce papers shortly after my chemotherapy was complete. Never would I have expected this to have occurred. I still don't understand the selfishness that it takes to dissolve a family after such a devastating health issue. But God is great and had new plans for me. Upon having to sell our house during th divorce proceedings, my long time friend offered me her home for 2 years while she served in the Peace Corps in Morocco. Afterwards, my sister-in-law provided, and still provides, a home for me along with her and her puppies. I am truly blessed!!!

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  4. 4
    over 4 years ago
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    Bladder problems

    Side Effects

    The biggest side effects I had were hair loss (As a bald woman, I found out that I look like my brother Dave!), but more importantly bladder problems. I wasn't able to make it 5 feet without loss of control. So I researched possible eastern medicine options and found a doctor in Fullerton, CA. He provided accupuncture for months (hoping to rebulid my immune system...which was compromised by the chemotherapy) along with Chinese herbs to strengthen my kidneys (He informed me that when you have bladder issues it's not your bladder but your kidneys that aren't functioning properly). The herbs would strengthen my kidneys and stated that he believed that, "Your cancer won't come back!" From the first evening when taking this new medication (herbs) I no long had baldder issues and to this day (6 1/2 years later) I'm fabulous! Again, someone is smiling down on me!!!

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  5. 5
    over 4 years ago
    jomcclendon's Avatar

    My loved one around me and reaching out

    Other Care

    I think the best care is the LOVE that is felt at a time like this. I soon realized that the "greater good" that was to come from my brain cancer diagnosis was the outpouring of love and concern that was present. Still today, I'm so thankful for all my gifts of love and care. especially from my dear college girlfriend Sharon. She sat with me through each and every chemo day at both the hospital and infusion center. She held my hand, fed me, dressed me, changed me, laughed and cried with me, and taught me the true meaning of friendship beyond what I had known. She remains an speical presence in my life and always will be "the angel that was sent from God." On two separate occasions, while undergoing chemo in the hospital, I had all but given up having been so sick....While talking to God asking whether or not he was ready for me and telling him I'm OK to go now....Sharon walked into my room and stated that it "wasn't my time and I had a lot more to do." Both of these times were late in the evening when she shouldn't have even been near the hospital. But my angel kept me on track as to my life continuing. So I made the best of what I could and relearned many things I had lost, such as to walk of stairs once again and to process new information. It was extremely difficult but I rose to the challenge. At this time I felt healed and needed to give back to others, as I had been so blessed by so many. I spent some time at the Ronald McDonald House, participated in Meals on Wheels delivering food to those who were in need, and took part in the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life for 3 years. My team's name was Brain Power! Get it? Along with family and friends we raised approx. $18,000 during 3 separate years of Relay for Life. I was honored to have been asked to speak, at the opening ceremonies, on behalf of the survivors. What a true blessing. My journey continues in a very positive direction. I don't know what tomorrow holds but I'm ready to hold on! I wish beautiful lives for all of my survivor friends and l hope that you greet each and every day as the blessing it is! Take care.

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