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07
Jul
2017

Cheryl has defied all odds, surviving GBM brain cancer for 17 years

Cheryl and her hudband Matt

By Cheryl Broyles

It has not been easy surviving brain tumours for 17 years.

It has not been easy in the very hard fight.

But it has been worth it!

This June, 2017, I have officially become a 17 year survivor. Over my 17 years living in the “brain tumour world”, I have been blessed with wonderful times and unfortunately, hit with indescribable bad times too. 

Blessings came along with being a mother of my two boys, now 18 & 20 years old. Blessings came along with being married with my husband for 27 years (ten years before being diagnosed with the GBM, and 17 years after). Blessings came along with spending time with my amazing family and friends. Too many blessings to list!

However, over 17 years living in the “brain tumour world”, I’ve been hit hard with extreme challenges, at times brought close to giving up; ready to be dead. The bad experiences that come along with fighting brain tumours are too mentally and physically complex to describe. 

This year, in 2017, I’m still being attacked by the cancer. 

In April, I went through four weeks of radiation fighting my 7th recurrence of a brain tumour. This time it’s a new type of tumour for me, an aPXA; and at new location for me, in my pituitary. In the past, the GBM was always located in my left temporal lobe. 

Battling the aPXA, I’ve been challenged by new and very hard effects that come along with damage to my pituitary, which is very different than damage to my left temporal lobe. The aPXA is inoperable. Consequently, I went through four weeks of radiation. I never thought I could have additional radiation after going through six weeks of it back in 2000.

In May I went through surgery to remove skin cancer on my scalp, caused by six weeks of radiation treatment back in 2000.

My last MRI (a couple of weeks ago) was the hardest one I’ve gone through over the 17 years, with the threat of both the GBM recurring, and/or the aPXA continuing to grow. Both are located in different parts of my brain and also with seriously different effects. 

Before the MRI, I had to think hard about what decisions I would need to make if both showed up aggressively growing. At that point, the doctors would think the fight was over and that it was time to give up. How would it affect my family? My mind was going all over the place.

I was completely overwhelmed. I felt like I could not breathe or think. I was also hit hard by depression. I guess what I’m trying to say is, fighting the ugly brain tumour comes along with severe trials, both physically and emotionally. I know all my fellow brain tumour fighters would agree with this claim.

Now that I’m back home and settled in, my thoughts came to the conclusion - I never, never, never regret my past decisions to keep up the fight. I know I would have missed SO many wonderful times (even while living in the “brain tumour world”) if I had given up when I had my first recurrence, or my second reccurance, or my third , fourth, fifth, sixth, and now my seventh recurrence. 

If I give up now, how many blessings would I miss over my next days, months, or maybe even my next years? When I was diagnosed with the GBM back in 2000, my doctors never thought I would make it 17 years! So now, why not 20 years!