Welcome to Pat's Personal Page
This year I am participating in Head for the Cure in honor and celebration of all of the medical professionals and staff that have helped me on my journey as a brain tumor survivor for 35 years. Unfortunately, I don’t know most of their names and haven’t met many of them. I am not speaking only of the doctors and nurses, but also the rest of the team. You know the housekeepers, kitchen staff, engineering and maintenance, administrators (go Sasha!), technicians, social workers, and definitely researchers, just to mention a few. These are the folks who are the glue and are seldom recognized. Can you imagine what a medical facility would be like without the exhausting work of the housekeeping staff (very nasty!)? Or without the talented kitchen staff preparing several different types of meals (diabetic, low sodium, low fat, low sugar, bland, soft, endless food allergies…) not only for the patients, but for the visitors and staff. Making it not only nutritious, but also delicious! I’m frazzled just thinking about it. I have trouble thinking of cooking breakfast every morning. For the physical functioning and upkeep of the buildings, heating and air conditioning, lighting, equipment, and a ton of other things I’m not even aware of, I thank the engineers and maintenance folks. Yes, I know how to use a hammer and screwdriver and how to change a light bulb (thanks Dad), but not anything even close to the hidden tasks these folks do every day and every night. What about all those technicians who operate all the fancy machines, like the MRI, CT, and the Radiation Zapper, just to name a few. Couldn’t do without them! Not to forget the social workers that help so many patients and families put their lives back in order in the aftermath. Then of course, there are the administrators making sure it all flows and that the hospitals and medical facilities have the resources to make it all come together.
Of course, I am extremely grateful for my surgeon, Dr. Bruce Mickey, and his medical team (go Team Mickey!). Dr. Mickey is more than an extremely talented surgeon, but also does research and educates. That includes his patients. He is not the kind of doctor that says it’s his way or the highway. Rather, he educates his patients so that they, as a team, can make an informed decision. He has been picking my brain, as my neurosurgeon, for the past 20 years. He is not only my doctor, but my coach (rah rah ree). He and his team have guided me through every maneuver. When I am not sure or need clarification, I know I can trust them to be forthright, honest, and to educate me until I am able to figure out what is my best move. All the while not only feeding my knowledge, but often giving me a hand up with a kind word, a smile, or just treating me with respect.
Without the help of “my” medical professionals and staff, I know, beyond a doubt, I would not have been able to wear the many hats that I have been able to wear since my first brain surgery (at the ripe old age of 28) and for the past 35 years. Mother (I loved being a Taxi Mom!). Wife. Sister. Daughter. Friend. Doggy Mom. Doggy Grandma. Mentor. Volunteer. Community Activist. Board of Director Member and President (go REACH). Neighbor. Cousin. Aunt. Sister-in-law. Employee. Provider. I would not have known how to guide my lifelong friend, Shirley through her brain tumor, and surgery. Nor guide my sister-in-law through her craniotomy and recovery. Nor would I have been able to give knowledgeable support to numerous other people that had loved ones with brain tumors and cancer. Having been given the care I have received during my battles also helped enable me to give emotional support to both my Mom, Trudy and my older brother, George, as they bravely faced their journeys “Home”, after their battles with lung cancer failed them. Not that I was ever in their place, but because they felt that I had some knowledge of what they were experiencing and was comfortable talking about it.
I am excited to be participating on the UTSouthwestern Team, as they have made not only my problems much less burdensome, but those of people I care about. While I am grateful for those who have given me care, I recognize that none of us would have been able to dance the dance without the years and years of brain cancer research backing us all up. Without the progress made through decades of tenacious research we would not have been so fortunate.
I am joining the fight against brain cancer by participating for the third time in Head for the Cure North Texas, on May 1st, 2021. Head for the Cure is dedicated to raising funds and awareness for brain cancer research. I have never had a malignant tumor. My brain tumors have always been benign, although dangerously so. As a result, I often don’t feel that I have earned the right to be considered in the ranks of a brain cancer survivor. However, the community tells me otherwise. The term brain tumor survivor sets better with me. I do know this much though; I have benefitted from the many decades of brain cancer research.
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. UTSouthwestern is on that cutting edge!
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 (like my friend Phil Baker), 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 brain tumors.
I am hoping you will join me in honoring and celebrating the many victories of healthcare providers and their staff, who face the battle of Brain Cancer day after day, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. Please consider making a donation today to help Head for the Cure defeat brain cancer, step by step! Thank you for visiting my personal page and hopefully helping me to reach/exceed my fundraising goal! Whether you make a donation, or not, I thank you for the support you have given me throughout the years!
Just me, Pat Nehr (aka Patches)
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