Share your story
My name is Beth and I want to share my story with you. On February 14, 1996, I found out I had a brain tumor, located at the base of my brain stem.
I will never forget the day when my parents came to pick me up from school. As I walked into the office, my parents stood there with tears in their eyes. I didnít ask any questions. My dad told me when we got in the car that I had a brain tumor and we were going to Greenville to see the neurosurgeon who would perform my surgery. I was in the hospital for three days before my operation. Each day, my room was filled with family and friends. My parents were there for me everyday. On the day of my surgery, my family and friends filled the waiting room waiting for the news. After eight hours of surgery, my family was told the surgeons were not able to remove all of the tumor and I only had two months to live.
After finding out what type of tumor I had, my dad, with his brother and wife, went to Duke to talk with Dr. Daryl Longee; he had HOPE for me. In late March of 1996, I had a port put in and I began a nine-month battle with three types of chemotherapy: Vincristine, CCNU and Procarbozine. The first doses didnít bother me. It was in my second rounds I began to start having blood and platelet transfusions. My hemoglobin was always low and it was making me sick. My mom and I went to Duke two or three times a week for treatments, transfusions and to see the doctor. Once a month I would have an MRI. Each time, the scan would read only a little change, if any, in the tumor. I was losing a lot of weight and strength and wasnít showing any signs of improvement with the chemo, so Dr. Longee reduced my dosages of chemo.
By December, I had finished my nine months of chemo. The tumor was still there and the next thing for me was radiation. In March of 1997, my mom and I started staying at the Ronald McDonald house. I would go five days a week, for six weeks, to receive my radiation treatments. After two weeks of radiation, my hair began to fall out. Ten years later it has not grown back. I also have to wear hearing aids due to the damage on my eardrums caused by the radiation.
It has been eleven years since my diagnoses. Last summer when I went for my checkup, I was told I didnít have to have another check-up for three years. The tumor is gone and everyday I am thankful for all the help and hope from the doctors at Duke. If it were not for them, I wouldnít be here today.