Mike Monahan GBM brain cancer fight

I need to tell my beautiful love story.  It brings tears of joy and also tears of fear and sadness. Mike and I have a wonderful, and amazing life. We met in 1986 at a party of mutual friends in Kitchener Ontario Canada.  I knew that he was the “ONE”. Something special; crazy and full of life. What I craved. Confidence and kindness. For me, it was love at first sight. Fast forward to 1990. We were married surrounded by our loving family and friends.

Mike is an accomplished skier, cyclist, entrepreneur, a man who never turned away from a hard day’s work. But the deepest commitments came with our son Sutherland’s birth in 1998. Mike knew that he wanted to be the best father, influencer, and parent ……All in.  Our life was now so full of sweet love for our amazing boy!! We could do anything together as a team. We have travelled across the country in pursuit of growth in our careers and our goals of becoming old together. September 2017 marks 28 years of wedded bliss and family life!

Our normal life become anything but normal on February 13, 2017.  After returning from a business trip out of the country, a Grand Mal seizure hit Mike at the age of 52.  It was a traumatic and frantic time for me, our son, and family.  Always the “Strong Man” of the family, Mike was in the Intensive Care Unit.  Initial findings suggested a possible neurological source for the seizure and Mike was discharged. A series of diagnostic tests and scans were ordered.  While waiting for the results, another debilitating Grand Mal occurred with another 5 days in ICU to stabilize the seizures. An MRI scan revealed a brain tumor in the right temporal lobe as the possible source of the seizures.  The medical team immediately booked Mike for surgery the next week to remove the tumor. The surgery, a craniotomy, would remove the tumor and allow the doctors to examine the tissue. After that, we could determine next steps.

They told us there was NO CURE.  Brain cancer, Glioblastoma Multiforme, Stage 4.  May 2017, Mike started on focal radiation therapy, 5 days a week for 5 weeks while taking an oral chemo, Temador, everyday during the radiation.  The oral chemo continued on 5 days per month for 6 cycles. Side effects are compounded when combining radiation and chemo. Patients are warned of fatigue, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, sensory sensitivity, short and long term memory loss to name a few. 

The medical team gently suggested to get our lives in order.

July 2017, weeks after completing radiation, Mike was acceptance into an immunotherapy trial Phase 1 trial of Ipilimumab Nivolumab for newly Diagnosed GBM with University of California San Francisco UCSF. The first infusion was unbearable and by the time Mike reached home, his temperature was 102 degrees with overwhelming side effects.  It was so severe, he couldn’t contemplate ever going for another infusion. Somehow, my “Strong Man”, with our family’s support, and the UCSF medical team decided to continue. Some infusions are more manageable although the fatigue hits and can last days along with side effects. Mike and family continue to travel from Sacramento to San Francisco for bi-weekly infusions at UCSF. Mike continues to fight and we are by his side every step of the way.

We know that our time and dreams of retirement and growing old together have shifted. My son and I want Mike to experience his top dreams, wishes, adventures and be with family and friends. With your support, we will be Mike’s rock, tour guides and be the proudest wife and son in the world to make sure that if he has a dream, we are doing it!  We are so committed to being strong, to adventure together, and make lasting memories for us all.We are fighting, dreaming, and praying for a miracle so Mike and I can enjoy our life together with our son Sutherland.  We want him to follow his educational and career aspirations and experience the power of true, enduring love and family. We are so grateful for whatever you can contribute.  I never imagined that this would be our story but now that it is, we want to live full on, in joy and make every minute count.

These donations will allow us to create memories as a family while we can.  Please share!  Your support and kindness is met with appreciation.

More information about this incurable cancer Glioblastoma Multiforme can be found at these following websites:
American Brain Tumor Association
National Brain Tumor Society
CURE- Cancer Updates Research and Education
American Cancer Society
Cancer Care
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Mike Monahan 
Fair Oaks, CA
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