Our whole family was recently touched by the scary reality of brain cancer when Monica was diagnosed with a rather large, but benign meningioma of the olfactory groove/skull base in November 2021. This was a shocking diagnosis for us, but our immediate family really came together to support Monica through the surgery and recovery with so much love and care. And our community, families, and friends came together for us (and are still supporting us!) in ways that were profound, touching, and will be remembered always.
The tumor was removed successfully after a 9 hour surgery by a truly world-class neurosurgeon at Duke University. Recovery was long and harder than expected, a very rough 6 weeks, and is still ongoing as Monica still experiences daily fatigue and issues with sleep, emotions, and anxiety. However, we are also fortunate in that we are seeing slow, but steady improvements in these areas, and we are encouraged by the doctors that these remaining symptoms should slowly improve with time. The only exception was Monica's loss of smell, which is expected to be permanent as the olfactory receptors were consumed by the tumor.
As this touched our lived, we were honestly in disbelief at how far medicine has advanced in the area of neurosurgery. How these complicated procedures can be done with ease and grace of the providers, a smooth hand, confident expertise, a minimal incision, and honestly although difficult at times, minimal life disruption. I personally cannot tell you with words how grateful I am for the scientific advancement of medicine and its availability to us in the country. As one of my uncles said, "this is God working through man." It is important also to acknowledge how lucky and grateful we were that this was a benign tumor. There are many other children and adults out there who were not as fortunate and experience malignant tumors or recurring tumors, often going through multiple surgeries or with a poorer prognosis. It is for them too, that we walk.
We are walking in the Angels Among Us Walk of Hope at Duke Gardens on April 30, 2022 to help raise money in support of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center of the Duke Cancer Institute. Read more about the center below... And finally PLEASE consider donating to support the very worthy cause that is now very close to our hearts as we have lived the trauma of a tumor diagnosis and the hope that medical care provides. No amount is too small, we are grateful for any support! Also, if you'd like to join us for the walk, please consider joining our team to support this worthy cause! And because we'd love to have you join us! :-)
Etablished in 1937, The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center was one of the first brain tumor research and clinical programs in the United States. Since then, it has advanced to become one of the best pediatric and adult neuro-oncology programs in the world—leading the way in comprehensive care that combines research breakthroughs, clinical trials and the newest therapies. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has given our center the highest rating of “outstanding” for each of the last 15 years.
Our mission is:
To conduct molecular genetic and epidemiologic studies that will identify the cause and relevant tumor suppressor and driver oncogenes in all the major types of adult and childhood malignant brain tumors. (Molecular Studies, Causation)
To establish innovative and predictive model systems that can be used to identify accurately active and inactive therapeutic compounds prior to clinical use. (Pre-Clinical Drug Testing, Murine Models)
To invent and translate novel therapeutics into clinical trials that incorporate innovative trial designs and techniques. (Virotherapy, Active Immunotherapy, Immunoconjugates, Clinical Trials)
To maintain, in concert with the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI), a comprehensive brain tumor repository. (Biobanking)
To train the next generation of neuro-oncologists—MD, PhD, and MD/PhD students; postdoctoral fellows; residents; surgical, medical, and pediatric clinical neuro-oncologists.