Laura's personal Head for the Cure Page
Thank you for visiting my personal page and helping me to reach my fundraising goal!
Each year, over 200,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with a primary or metastatic brain tumor. More than 120 types of brain tumors exist, making effective treatment complicated. Cutting edge research is needed as we continue to make strides in this fight.
Head for the Cure works to inspire hope for the community of brain cancer patients, their families, friends, caregivers and other supporters, while celebrating their courage, spirit and energy. Every Head for the Cure event marks a day of celebration where those diagnosed with brain cancer are honored and celebrated by their friends and families, those who have lost their battles are remembered, and we are all inspired to carry on the fight.
Funds raised by Head for the Cure support the Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative, a network of medical centers with the expertise and the desire to participate in state-of-the-art clinical trials investigating new treatments for malignant brain tumors.
Please consider making a donation (or joining my team) today to help me reach my goal and to help Head for the Cure defeat brain cancer, step by step! The following is my personal journey in the fight against brain cancer.
My story is one of faith, hope and positivity. On September 26, 2015 I was enjoying a typical, sunny San Diego afternoon on the beach with my then roommate and friends. The last thing I remember was watching a beautiful family take their little boy’s 6th month birthday photos under the pier. From that point on, my memory is a blur and what I know today is only because of what I’ve been told about that life-changing day.
As I was sitting on the beach, I suffered a grand mal seizure. Thankfully my roommate and lifeguards called 911 and the ambulance quickly arrived. On my way to Scripps Memorial hospital, La Jolla, I suffered another grand mal seizure. While in the ER, they gave me medications and performed a CT scan of my head. After dosing me up with anti seizure medication and a negative CT scan, they were ready to discharge me from the ER. Luckily I had a great support person, my roommate Renee, by my side fighting for me. She knew I was not acting normal and fought against the physicians on their decision to send me home. While waiting for discharge, I had a 3rd grand mal seizure, which finally led the medical team to do more. I was sent for a brain MRI, and it was then that they finally found the little almond sized tumor that was causing my seizures.
At first, the neurosurgeon speculated that my tumor would be benign or low grade, but as soon as he saw the tumor during surgery, he knew it was a high grade glioma. The pathology results from Scripps came back with a diagnosis of a Grade 3 anaplastic astrocytoma. My mom and dear friend Ashley were with me when the Dr. gave me those results, the diagnosis of cancer. Thankfully I don’t remember that day or the days following, but I do know that I had the best support system to make sure I stayed positive and strong.
Following diagnosis, I had to quickly decide where to start treatment for this crazy, life changing diagnosis. With several places to consider, I finally decided to move to Dallas and start treatment at Baylor University Medical Center and Texas Oncology. With the help of so many friends and family, I promptly moved and settled into my new home. After establishing care with all of my new doctors, on 11/11/15 I was able to harvest my eggs, had my first day of radiation that afternoon, and started Day 1/42 of my initial chemo treatment that evening. I feel like I sailed through all of that pretty well, with fatigue being the most difficult side effect to battle. Unfortunately, during my treatment, my oncologist shared the news that my tumor had been upgraded to a grade 4 Glioblastoma (the only word I didn’t want to hear-not the kind of upgrade I wanted). There would be no change in my current treatment, but more follow up in the future. I finished everything on 12/31/15, New Years Eve, and you can bet I celebrated that night. Of course I knew that wasn’t the end of this journey, but I had conquered the first major hill and I was so happy.
In January I was able get an appt at the NIH in Washington DC with Dr. Gilbert. I went there for a second opinion and for possible acceptance into a clinical trial. Although I did not meet the criteria for any trials at the NIH, I was happy to meet with Dr. Gilbert and hear his optimism in brain cancer research. I then followed up with my team at Baylor to talk about continued treatment. The plan would be to continue my chemo monthly and potentially start on a phase 3 clinical trial. Because I didn’t have much in Dallas, after talking with my oncologist, I decided to make the move back to Austin and continue my treatment with Dr. Groves and Texas Oncology.
I officially moved to Austin sometime in February of 2016. I stayed with some of my best friends, Bernie and Jordan, for the first few months, as I got my feet replanted on the ground. In March 2016, I slowly, but happily started back working as a labor and delivery nurse. It was such an accomplishment to be back where I belonged, doing what I loved and helping others. In April I finally decided to move out into an apartment on my own.
In January of 2017, I officially completed 14 months of Chemo treatments and am currently only receiving the immunotherapy injections monthly. After stopping chemo, I was able to start working full time in March 2017 and it's pretty awesome to be able to take care of patients after being one for so long.
I went 13 months without any recurrence in tumor and it was an amazing 13 months. I got back to working out, going out, traveling, and even met my love. Unfortnately in February 2018 I started having seizures again and after 2 MRI's and my second brain surgery, I was diagnose with my first recurrence of GBM. As it would be for most, it turned my world upside down again. Thankfully, friends and family have kept me going over the last 8-10 months. I again did radiation and continue on my oral Chemo regimen. On 11/28/2018, we were in limbo on what was going on with my brain. After that MRI, I've had a few more that were in even better, espcially the one from Monday 3/25/2019 that was the best so far. The oncology team believes that it all could have been scar tissue or inflammation over the past several months. I am so happy with this news and ready to keep fighting...and winning!
As terrible and heart breaking as a diagnosis of Brain cancer is, we have so much to fight for and because of organizations like Head for the Cure, more and more research is being done. I am walking in the Head for the Cure 5K for myself, my nephew Joshua, who is 17 and been battling an aggressive Ependymoma brain tumor since age 4, and all of those affected by the diagnosis of brain cancer. Together we have to remain positive and keep fighting! Let’s do this, let’s find a cure!
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