My name is Patricia L. Saville, and on August 6th of this year, 2012, I became a 2 year GBM survivor. The fact that I have achieved that status is due in a large part to the Duke Brain Tumor Center’s wonderful caring staff and an aggressive treatment plan designed for my changing needs.
My story started typically enough, an MRI discovered a glioblastoma multiforme tumor in my left frontal lobe. The edema from the tumor had caused me to gradually lose control of my right hand and then right leg. I was given the standard prognosis familiar to GBM patients, an average life expectancy of 14 months. After surgery to remove the tumor I did not return home for 6 weeks as I went from my local hospital to a rehab hospital. During my stay there, my husband researched treatment options above and beyond the conventional GBM treatment plan and decided the best option was clearly Duke’s BTC. He submitted an online referral and was contacted by Dr. Henry Friedman the very next day.
Due to my physical condition I was not able to travel to Duke until March 2011. I became a patient of Dr. James Vredenburgh. While on the standard treatment regime of 28 day Temodar cycles, I had a small recurrence in May 2011. Dr. Vredenburgh and Dr. Annick Desjardins immediately designed a treatment plan of daily Temodar and Avastin infusions every 2 weeks. By my next MRI in July 2011, the recurrence had totally been resolved, and since then my every 2 month MRIs have shown me to be cancer free. In June 2012, I completed my 1 year on this treatment plan and have been able to stop the Temodar, and go to Avastin infusions every 3 weeks. We just returned from our latest appointment at Duke on August 8th with Dr. Tulika Ranjan, who has taken on Dr. Vredenburgh patients. Once again my latest MRI is stable.
We realize that the battle is not over, but the team at Duke’s BTC working hand in hand with our local Oncologist at Peninsula Regional Medical Center(PRMC) in Salisbury, Md, has truly given us hope that I will continue to thrive and survive, and Duke’s BTC medical team will be able to help me through whatever challenges and triumphs the future holds for me. Thank you very much Drs. Friedman, Vredenburg, Desjardins, Ranjan and a special thanks to Elaine Martell, RN, BSN, for responding with patience to my husband’s numerous emails. We will be celebrating my 2-year survivorship with a cruise next month! At Duke there truly is hope.