Ten years as a THRIVER
My crazy story
Just before my 26th birthday, I went for a CT scan to investigate a strange noise I was hearing in my ear. Scans showed I had a mass the size of a small orange in my brain, and whatever it was, it needed to come out. Doctors were stumped as I showed no neurological symptoms to explain my scan. It came at a time in my life where I wanted to focus on my career and finding the right guy, not prepare myself for brain surgery.
My family was no stranger to this situation as 13 years prior, my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer, undergoing surgery and chemotherapy. My mom was extremely supportive and I learned much from her my first couple of years with the disease, until she passed away. I want to always remember the moment she told me that having cancer doesn’t change who I am – I’m still the daughter she raised, and I carry on her legacy to this day.
Overall, I’ve done 24 rounds of one chemo over the course of 2 years, had 2 surgeries, endured 6 weeks of radiation therapy causing some permanent hair loss, and conquered 6.5 rounds of another, more intense chemo. I’ve gone whitewater kayaking and surfing with other young adult cancer survivors, met some awesome friends, lost a couple of fellow warriors.
In 2015, my dad lost his battle when his tumor metastasized down his spine and into his hip. He had survived 19 years, during which he ran marathons. It was painful to lose him, but I was also terrified of that happening to me, even though it’s extremely rare. In his honor, I’ve done some volunteering towards the brain tumor cause, and mentored other BT survivors to make sure they do not feel alone in this fight. It’s also extremely rewarding, and I feel honored to know these other warriors.
My scans have been stable for the past 3 years. I’d like to attribute the good luck to my boyfriend, since he seems to be my lucky charm. But there are plenty of other people to be thankful for. I am first of all thankful for my mom and the fighting spirit she instilled in me. I think of her every time I am in the MRI machine. I also don’t know if I would have made it this far without my family and friends, those who have been there to pick me up when I needed a ride, or come to events to support charity.
Though I truely owe much of my time to my incredible doctor, who treated my dad before me, and whom I consider like family. My next scan falls on precisely the 10th anniversary of the day we found the tumor. To celebrate my 10 years, I’m sharing my story and hoping to raise money to fund her research.
Why HTFC is so important to me
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, like mine.
Please consider making a donation to celebrate my long journey and honor my parents and everyone else who is no longer with us. And here’s to many more years ahead for me! Thanks for reading!
– Jenny “Pengi” Williams
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