L24 — June 2011 — Living With Brain Tumors
Intro: The first symptom was a headache. Then slurred speech and memory loss. The diagnosis of a grade 4 brain tumor was devastating for the man you're about to meet, a husband and father of four young kids. Surgeons could not remove the entire tumor, but Steven Smith is proof that there is life with cancer.
An ideal life. That's how Deb Smith describes the years before her husband, Steve, was diagnosed with brain cancer.
That's when they told us he had a glioblastoma, grade 4, and that they weren't able to resect as much as they had hoped. It was pretty much inoperable. To tell the truth, I screamed. When he woke up, it was really hard to tell him. He started to cry.
But once the shock of the diagnosis wore off, Steve focused on treatment that would allow him to live as full a life as possible with the time he has left. Time with Deb and their four kids.
They're my world.
I love you sweetheart. I love you, too.
In addition to trying to give the best therapy and to have the patient survive the longest period of time, we need to make absolutely sure that that survival is also a quality, not just quantity.
Dr. Ali Choucair says in the attempt to prolong life, it's important to make sure that life is worth living. For example, if surgeons had removed the entire tumor, they would also have had to remove a lot of Steve's brain. That would cause severe disability and loss of function.
So after partial removal, Steve had radiation and chemotherapy. Thus far treatment has kept the tumor from growing, but it has caused side effects.
When he was bald, he looked really handsome.
It's been a difficult journey. Steve is often fatigued, suffers memory loss, seizures, and has lost some function on the right side of his body.
I can't do the things I could before.
Which can be especially hard on the kids.
When he shakes and stuff, I get really worried.
Steve knows his time with his family may be cut short. So he lives every day full of love.
Deal with what I've been dealt, and carry on. I love my family; they love me. Just carry on.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
Many types of brain tumors can be very tough to treat, but Dr. Choucair says there is reason for great hope. Many patients are living longer than they used to, and researchers continue to learn more about ways to treat brain tumors.He also says that it is vitally important for patients and their families to be an active part in making decisions about treatment options.
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