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Brain Tumor Survivor: Bruce B.
last Updated: 3/22/17

Bruce

I'll keep this short, I promise !!!

In 1994, I was on active duty in the U.S. Air Force, when I noticed some unusual symptoms - numb fingers, vision problems, slobbering on my pillow at night (disgusting!), lethargy, and a lot of staring off at nothing. Oh, then there was the seizure. I was misdiagnosed by the military doctors for two years. They kept telling me that there was nothing wrong - which was what I wanted to hear! Then there was that seizure. I had the seizure at home, on my couch. 911 was not called, and I came out of it OK. But, I knew something was wrong. I found the best doctor around - she ordered an MRI... "A large mass" ( 4th ventricular ependymoma).

Three months in the hospital. Craniotomy (99+%), radiation (fractionated, I got the full dose - no chemo), blood clots, trachea tube, infections, pneumonia, PEG tube, and maybe worst of all - those military nurses! (actually, they were very good)
That was springtime, 1995
Since then, I have retired, became the facilitator of two online support groups ( the adult ependymoma and spine tumor online support group - part of T.H.E. Brain Trust, http://braintrust.org/) ,and co-facilitator of an in-person group here in New Jersey ( The Monmouth and Ocean County Brain Tumor Support Group). I have been to brain tumor conferences in three states (so far), I have written an article about BTs that was published in a local newspaper, I have requested my mayor declare Brain Tumor Awareness Week for his city (which he did), I have traveled to Washington, D.C. to speak to elected officials about brain tumors, and maybe some other things too (you see, I don't remember so good anymore). I have double vision (corrected by prism lenses), balance problems, memory problems, and other things (I told you I forget things!)

But, I am Alive !!!
So now, I drive slower than I used to, I notice more, I enjoy every day and - I appreciate Life !!!


Update: 6/7/2008: I was highlighted on CNN

Update: 2/20/2011:

As of this date, I remain (thank God) tumor free. While not deficiency free, my quality of life is very high. More than ever, I am sure that having a positive attitude is paramount to ones happiness - whether they are a survivor or not!


Update 2/28/2012

In January (the 27th, actually), I celebrated my 17-year "Tumorversary"!!! I am very blessed in that I have experienced no new deficiencies since my original "survivor" story was written. Mine could recur, but my wife keeps telling me that there is nothing in my head so I am going with that!

Bruce

Update 1/28/2013

My update is that I am still here! - and that January 27th, 2013 was my 18th "Tumorversary" date!


Update 7/10/2013

As of my last MRI in October, 2012, I am "clear". I expect (and pray) this continues!


Update 1/25/2014

Thanks to God, I am still tumor free - 19 years!!!


Update 10/26/2014

All is good yet again!


Update 2/1/2015

Thanks to God, January 27th, 2015 will be my twentieth "Tumorversary"!


Update 10/18/2015

Wrote an article for the "International Brain Tumor Association", that was published in their 2015/16 annual report: Look at pages 44 and 45 ! http://issuu.com/ibta-org/docs/ibta-2015/19?e=12469959/13388134

Held my 5th annual "Walk To End Brain Tumors" as part of the "Grey Ribbons Crusade"- raised over $33,000 for brain tumor research.


Update 6/19/16

I just had my 4th annual "Walk To End Brain Tumors - New Egypt" in May. This is held as part of the "Gray Ribbons Crusade". Through the years, the walk has raised over $75,000 which has gone directly to brain tumor research. Still walking (staggering) down life's path!


Update 3/22/17

Now a twenty two year survivor!
Bruce B.



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