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Mary R.

Mary R.

A friend told us about the Brain Tumor Network. We called just to ask questions and maybe to request a referral to a doctor who specializes in brain cancer. BTN helped us.”

Told by husband of patient

Mary first suffered a seizure in 2012 while at work; she was rushed to the emergency room. Initially, doctors tested to see if she had a heart attack; that test was negative. Then they tested for meningitis; that was not the problem either. An oncologist was consulted who diagnosed her with epilepsy. When Mary first started on seizure medications, she didn’t even recognize her own family. Once she adjusted to the medications, her memory and speech improved. Within a few months, Mary returned to work and her usual routine.

Things went well for 16 months.  Then in 2014 Mary suffered another seizure which sent her back to the ER. That is when the brain tumor was discovered. Our family started looking for a treatment for Mary. We went to our medical center hospital and things started moving fast – too fast. We were all set for a roller coaster ride. The problem was that we needed more time to think about this radical surgery. When we requested a second opinion, the doctor seemed upset; but he did recommend a colleague. We stated that we wanted a second opinion from an outside provider.

A friend told us about the Brain Tumor Network. We called just to ask questions and maybe to request a referral to a doctor who specializes in brain cancer.  Karen, our BTN Nurse Navigator, did some research on the doctor we were seeing in San Antonio and discovered his expertise was primarily spine surgery. Karen helped us make an appointment at Baylor University Hospital with a neurosurgeon specializing in brain tumors and with his partnering oncologist. That appointment went well. Basically, those doctors recommended the same radical procedure for the surgery, but with more confidence and better bedside manners. The surgery took place at Baylor in June 2014. The treatment included surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, which we learned, was the standard of care. After radiation, the chemotherapy continued. The oncologist stated that Mary had a fighting chance with the treatment she had elected to undergo. He thought her life could be extended at least 2 years. The cancer was in remission about two years, but sadly returned. The doctor wanted Mary to try other treatments but eventually Mary decided to stop all treatments. Hospice and BTN helped us through those last months.