A change in retirement plans
At 60, I sold the farm and moved to the Southwest and the sunshine. Linda and I were enjoying our semi-retirement. We had our daughters close by with their husbands. We were waiting to have grandchildren to play with. Life was good.
One evening, we were out with some friends. When it was my turn to order food, I could not speak. Absolutely nothing would come out of my mouth. My wife and friends covered up and told the waitress what they knew I wanted.
My voice did come back quickly, but we didn’t know what had happened to my voice. I thought it might have been a mini-stroke.
From MRI, to surgery, to diagnosis
The next morning, we went to the ER at Angela’s advice while she called my primary care doctor to tell him what was happening. The hospital did an MRI, and I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. I didn’t know what to think. I always assume the worst. We told our daughters, and Angela suggested I have surgery to remove the tumor at another hospital where they had specialists.
I went home 2 days after the surgery, and a week later I was diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM). Neither Linda nor I had ever heard of GBM, but we started doing research.
The doctors at the hospital recommended that I go through radiation and chemotherapy. The entire family had a goal of going to Hawaii together after the radiation. With the help of family and friends, I was able to complete radiation. And just like we planned, we went to Hawaii.
Getting started on Optune®
During my treatments, the doctor and Angela told us about Optune for treating my GBM. We researched Optune and liked what we read. I talked to my oncologist about Optune. He explained the risks and benefits; then he showed me a model of it he had in his office.
“With the help of my DSS, I’ve found what works for me.”
I was able to start using Optune shortly after. An nCompass™ Device Support Specialist (DSS) came to the doctor’s office to teach us about applying the arrays, setting up the device, and managing my treatment. There was a long learning curve for me, but with the help of my DSS, I’ve found what works for me.
Optune and daily living
I haven’t really needed to adjust my lifestyle all that much to accommodate using Optune. I don’t really do any sports or activities outside, so I haven’t had to worry about it overheating because of the sun. I was always more of a reader, and Optune never gets in the way of that.
Whenever there is something that I need to do outside, I simply schedule it for the morning or the evening when it isn’t so hot out. Also, I plan my Optune usage around the times I work, since I don’t like to use Optune while I work. Other than that, I use it the rest of day. That’s how I’m able to keep my usage time at or above 75%.
Traveling with Optune
One thing that Linda and I didn’t want to give up was traveling. With Optune, we’ve had to plan a little different.
“I can set up everything in our stateroom and go out and
enjoy myself through the whole week.”
For instance, I prefer to stay in one place so that I can set up the chargers and equipment I need rather than setting it up each day. That’s why we prefer cruises. I can set up everything in our stateroom and go out and enjoy myself through the whole week.
Also, I’ve developed a system for where all the equipment goes so that I can pack it up and find everything more easily. And I keep the paperwork handy for when we go through security, just in case they want to know what Optune is.
The drive to keep going
I’m not sure how I would have been able to make it without the love and support I get from my family. I’m glad that I’ve been able to keep on going despite having GBM. It’s important to me for people to know how serious this disease is, so that’s why I’m doing this–telling my story.