Stories of Inspiration: Just Playin’ A Game of Texas Hold ‘Em

Florence was initially diagnosed with Leukemia (AML) in February 2006, spent seven months inpatient, received super high does chemo and then stem cell transplant. Florence did well.  In December 2008, Florence was diagnosed with a brain tumor (anaplastic oligodendroglioma).  She received proton beam radiation and now has to be seen for regular MRIs.  This was written by Florence’s mom after her most recent MRI.   

Another year.  Uncharted territory.  Fact is, we’re all playing a grand game of Texas Hold ‘Em, and we’re waiting for the next card the dealer turns.  Two, Five, or Ace,  it means nothing by itself – only in relation to what you already hold does it take on relevance. 

Two years since completing Proton radiation therapy.  The MRI dated 04/21/2011 shows no evidence of a new tumor.  It is surprising in that it shows a virtually normal brain, without evidence of previous tumor or resection.  Now, while it is reassuring that a brain does exists inside the head of a 13 year old girl, this “normal” thing – like, if we didn’t know better, we never would have guessed a tumor had ever existed thing – isn’t, well, normal.  Or, more appropriately, isn’t expected.  I somehow thought that a “Dr. Bramha was here” sign would be left, like a Geo-Cache trinket.  Sure, they left a few screws (loose), but the neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist were quite tidy.  Florence then rewired and reoccupied vacated space to original specifications.  Can’t clean her room, but….

Five years since diagnosis and initial remission of AML.  Florence (We) are officially dismissed from leukemia clinic.  All visits are now purely social.  We visited nurses, house keepers, Morris, pictures of old friends, and met new ones.

Aces:  Grand friends, families, and co-workers.  Roller coasters, cello, piano, Kyuki-Do.  Jazz Fest in New Orleans, Spoleto in Charleston, Paddle Georgia on the Oconee River, the beach at Amelia Island.  Sailing, camping, tennis, swimming.  RockBand 3 on the Wii (Joan Jett does look a little like Michael Jackson – who knew?)  Adapt, Change, Grow, Survive – no, Conquer.  

Uncharted territory…Next card, please. RSW3


About The Brain Tumor Foundation for Children

Founded in 1983, BTFC was the first nonprofit in the U.S. to focus on brain cancer in children. Our mission is to support patients and their families.
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