At first it was just headaches. Then suddenly one day, her speech was slurred, and the left side of her face was drooping. This is when Terry Stafford was taken to the hospital, where she received a CT scan. Doctors found a mass on the right side of her brain. She was transferred to the ICU at another hospital in preparation for surgery. Tests showed that there were no tumors elsewhere in her body. For someone in the ICU, she was very alert and capable, and she was able to enjoy some visits from friends and family.
On January 24th, the surgeons performed a craniotomy to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Because of her strong faith, Terry did not express much worry as she headed to the operating room. The surgery went well, and she was taken back to the ICU for the evening. Unfortunately, she would have to have two emergency surgeries over the next two days due to unexpected hemorrhaging, which led to clotting and stroke. The surgeon who performed the emergency surgeries met with the family and explained to us that Terry was indeed fighting for her life, and we still had to wait a few days for the biopsy results to determine the nature of her tumor. Day by day, we noticed some slow progress from Terry as she recovered from her surgeries. From nodding and giving a thumbs up to being able to mouth words, she was slowly coming around.
A medical oncologist and radiation oncologist eventually came to discuss the biopsy. Her tumor was identified as a malignant grade 4 tumor called a Glioblastoma Multiforme. GBM is the most aggressive and deadliest of all brain tumors. The news was absolutely devastating for the entire family. If Terry chose not to do any treatment, the doctors gave her up to 6 months to live. If she chose to do radiation and chemotherapy, then she might have up to a year.
As Terry became more and more coherent, she was moved to PCU, and then finally to a rehabilitation center on February 6th. She is now receiving speech, physical, and occupational therapy. At first, it was for only thirty minutes at a time, but she has now progressed to an hour of each. Her speech is now loud and clear. She does not have much movement on her left side, and she is still working on swallowing liquids. A feeding tube provides her nutrition in the meantime. She can sit on the side of the bed or stand for brief moments with some assistance.
Terry began chemo and radiation therapy the last week of February. The radiation will continue every weekday for six weeks. Thus far, she has thankfully received the treatments with no sickness or detriment to her physical therapies, though the radiation does make her tired afterward. The staff members at the rehab center have been amazed at her strength. Although Terry is aware that she has cancer and knows what kind it is, she does not know about her prognosis because we want her to be further along her road to recovery before we fully explain it to her.
Terry was prepared for a medical emergency with relatively good health insurance, but unfortunately it will not cover all that she will need. The donations that you make will support further treatment options and care that is not covered by her insurance. Any amount is enormously appreciated. Please help Terry fight cancer!
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