Doing it for Diana!
I’m part of the movement to end brain tumours and I hope you’ll support me and my team in this Canada-wide effort to put a stop to this disease!!!
Doing It For Diana!
A letter from my daughter, Chaela:
In June of 2017, my mom was out for her regular Saturday run by the river. Running is one of my mom’s biggest passions. She has run 13 full marathons, made countless lifelong friends, fundraised thousands of dollars for diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, and travelled the world for races with her biggest fan, my Dad. This was her regular Saturday routine. We never would have predicted that this would be the last time my mom would go for her Saturday run by the river.
My mom’s run was cut short at 13 kmwhen she started having stroke like symptoms. She was rushed to emergency where they did a CT scan of her head. What happened next was one of those life moments one never expects, and always fears. My mom had a lesion in her brain. They were admitting her to neurosurgery that afternoon.
Over the next few weeks, they did tests and a biopsy to confirm our worst fears- it was cancer. My mom’s brain tumor was inoperable and so in August she started 6 weeks of radiation and chemo. My mom rang the radiation bell to celebrate her last treatment in August of 2017. She then started a cyclic oral chemotherapy called temozolamide. She would take 5 days of oral chemotherapy and then have 23 days off. She did this for 13 cycles. She had MRIs every 3 months and we were so blessed that my mom tolerated the chemotherapy well and her MRIs were stable. Without fail her week of chemotherapy seemed to land on every holiday, but we still were able to enjoy family trips to the lake, Mexico and BC to celebrate my parent’s anniversary. Although my mom tolerated the chemo quite well, she suffered a complication of the therapy which resulted in right sided weakness and she lost most of the function of her right arm and right leg. This was devastating for mom, whom had always been so active. Despite this, she kept smiling even when she had to start wearing a leg brace that prevented her from wearing her fabulous (and very large!) shoe collection. She tried to keep things light as she picked out an animal print cane and eventually as she started to use a wheelchair for long distances. Despite this, she still continues to do exercises every day!
This past November, mom had another MRI and we had hoped that after over a year of therapy and numerous stable MRIs she could have a break from chemotherapy. The MRI showed a new spot. It was another tumor.
Thankfully this time the tumor was operable and my mom had a Left frontal lobe craniotomy on Dec 21st. We rushed to Saskatoon to celebrate Christmas together before her surgery as the surgeon said she would be in hospital for 2 weeks after. After 2.5 hours in surgery, the surgeon came to tell Dad and I that the surgery had went well and that he believed he had gotten everything that looked abnormal. We could all breathe a huge sigh of relief. My Mom continued to beat the odds when they discharged her after only 3 days in hospital. We felt so blessed to be able to celebrate Christmas morning together. Post-surgery mom has suffered with word finding difficulties, memory loss, and balance issues. Just a few weeks after surgery, her radiation oncologist suggested more radiation. Mom didn’t think twice and agreed. She continues to amaze us with her courage and strength. On Feb 11th, after 2 weeks of high dose radiation my Mom rang the radiation bell for the second time since diagnosis.
On June 2nd, I hope to show my mom, and others whom have been diagnosed with brain tumors, that they are not fighting alone. Please join our team or make a donation to this very important cause. Let’s raise the much needed funds to further research, expand treatment options, and find a cure for brain tumors. Last year with only 2 weeks’ notice, the 'Doing it For Diana' team was able to raise more than $7000 dollars and had a team of over 50 people participate in the Brain Tumor walk.
This disease has taken so much from my mom over the past 2 years, but it is your love and support that gives her the courage to keep fighting. Mom- you are my inspiration, my hero, the most generous and selfless mother, grandmother, and friend. Xox Chaela
Thank you for supporting this cause and my team, but most importantly, my wife of over 35 years, Diana.
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