My name is Roxane Abbott. Our home is in Valparaiso,Indiana. I am a 63 years old. I have been a single mother since 1985. Unfortunatly I have been on disability for a long time. I have three children, Chelsea age 37 , Briana age 36 and Chad age 35. My children have been my reason for living. But this isn't about me. The story is about my brave and beautiful daughter Briana.
At the age of 5, Briana was diagnosed with a brain tumor that took up almost a quarter of her brain. She had surgery Sept. 2 1984 at Tucson Medical Center. Her surgeon was Dr. Robert Goldfarb. Her tumor was very rare. It was an ogliodendroglioma located in her cerebellum near the brain stem. This type of tumor does not usually appear in children or in it's location. The surgery went well but they couldn't get all of it. After some complications and 2 months of hospitalization, she came home. She had no losses and we were so thankful. She endured 52 high dose radiation treatments over 52 days. They told me it was a life time dose. I was given the prognosis that she may only have 5 years to live. They just didn't know.
We moved from Tucson to Indiana to be near family in 1989. We followed up in Indianapolis at methodist Hospital. There was no noticeable growth during this time. Bree did everything any child would do. Briana was never treated different. The fear for me was always there. Bree had learning disabilities and the radiation caused a hearing loss. She uses hearing aids and has some balance problems.
With alot of help, Bree graduated from high school. Bree went on to college. At age 21 she developed epilepsy. She has partial seizures every couple of days. With medication, she does not have gran mals. Despite her problems, I am proud to say, she received her degree from Purdue University in 2002 in family services.
She got a job in a home for young men. Her seizures were not well controlled and she moved back home. After coming home she volunteered for the Visiting Nurses Assoc.
In 2005 she was having headaches and other symptoms of recurring tumor. The tumor had grown significantly. It was time for more surgery. Her surgery was performed in Chicago. It went well. There was a piece of tumor that couldn't be resected about the size of a dime. She developed an infection in her neck. But as time passed she was doing well again.
We continued to watch the tumor. Every thing seemed stable and Bree went on with her life. She lived with her sister for a year working as her nanny in 2014. She loved it. Briana began to have symptoms again. I was so scared. She had an MRI in April 2014 . In three months the tumor had grown to the size of a large lemmon. She wa seen in Chicago at North Shore University Hospital and 2 days later she was in surgery. Again the surgery went well and this time there was no complications. The tumor had changed characteristics. It is now aplastic ogleodendroglioma stage III. It is the most malignant and agressive form.
Bree began a treatment of chemotherapy in the form of Timador. In Nov. of 2014 we were thrilled when the tumor had shrunk to be almost invisable. We had a follow up MRI in Feb 2015. We were shocked to find that the tumor had grown to the size of a large egg. The chemo was no longer working.
That takes us to the present. Briana is now under going radiation, a repeat of timador and Avastin which helps further the treatment. Because she had a lifetime dose as a child, there are real concerns. They are also being careful so as not to affect the brain stem. She will have about 6 weeks of radiation M-F.
Briana is amazing. She is taking all this with a good attitude. She was pretty nervous about starting all this and worries about sideaffects, which we are told should be minamal but not fun. She knows she has no choice but to do what ever she has to do. Our hope is that this will shrink the tumor and allow her to get back to normal.
From now on there will be lots of MRIs and follow up care. Her prognosis is not good. Concidering her history we hope she will be okay.
Our funds are limited. There are funds for many types of cancer but I can't find funding for help for Brain Tumor patients. Bree has some medical bills but not too bad. I drive a 1997 pontiac. We have needed $2800. in repairs in the last 2 months. I have maxed out my credit cards to fix it. Our trips to Chicago take $100. each trip for gas, food and parking. It would be nice to have money to eat out on days she is in radiation and some extra money for food that could be prepared quickly when we get home because I am so tired. We could use help with gas. I am afraid we won't be able to make it. Our needs are simple and will not be wasted.
I raised my family in a loving enviroment. We muddled through okay. I was never able to take my family on a vacation. If we got extra funds, I would take Bee somewhere special so she could have that memory.
If you are inclined, please pray for Briana. Its worked before and it could help again.
Briana is a remarkable young woman who is so loving and kind. She feels for everyone and loves her dog Polly, her constant companion. You would love her too.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope you find it in your heart to help me make her life easier. She has had a hard time of it and any help would be appreciated.
- Denise Campbell
- Carrie and Wesley Reeck
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