Betsy S - Diagnosed in 1999 with an Astrocytoma
In the fall of 1999 I began having terrible headaches - so extreme I would see blurbs of light, and grab on to my desk. My head would ache so badly I would literally hold my breath. I missed a few days of work due to these headaches.
The day before Thanksgiving , I left the office due to a headache about 10am. The day after Thanksgiving, I was still in the bed with a headache (in the same clothes, I missed the holiday) My family was very worried and could not believe I did not show up for Thanksgiving! I did send my daughters - they thought I just had the flu or something. (They told me later I was very hateful!)
The day after the holiday, Friday, my mom came over and insisted I get up - we were going to ER. When we arrived she told them I was acting crazy, (they thought SHE was crazy!) Anyway, after asking me several questions, they realized why she was so concerned - I could not answer anything correctly (my age, who the president of the US was, what day it was, etc.) The next thing I knew, I was on the table for an MRI - and then I was taken by ambulance to Orlando Regional Medical Ctr. for surgery that very night! My diagnosis was a Astrocytoma, grade level # 3. It was behind my left eye, the size of a plum. I learned later I was in extreme danger - I could have had a stroke or Seizure at any moment. I was so very blessed to have not suffered either.
I recovered fairly quickly after my surgery and was released Sunday afternoon! My mom did stay with me another full week at home. In mid December I began 6 1/2 weeks of radiation treatments at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando. I did not return to work during this time and was so blessed to have a set volunteer(s) of drivers each day of the week. It was a drive of 30-45 min each way! The fatigue of radiation was horrible, not to mention the hair loss (sorry, that really bothered me), and I did not feel like doing anything. I could not think very clearly - one of my daughter's told me she just wanted me to be a 'Mom'. I couldn't even figure out what she meant.
Then, in March 2000, I began Temodar! The first round I thought I had it licked! But Whow!!! I also was on for 5 days, off 3 weeks. By Thursday, I was so weak, I stayed in bed until Monday. The next round, I developed sores all in my mouth and was nauseated & fatigued. The Dr. changed my anti- Nausea. That helped a little. The next round, I was so constipated, I never even realized what the word meant! That was the worst. The next round, I could hardly make myself swallow the awful pill!!
Then, in May, I was scheduled for a follow-up MRI. Oh dear - revealed new growth! More surgery - planned to insert a chemo-chip. I was devastated because they could not guarantee this would be the last surgery I would need. The surgeon requested one more test - A PET Scan the following week. My pastor asked me to pray in faith for what I could believe - I prayed I would only need this surgery - no more!
On Sunday morning, June 11, he called me before the congregation and asked anyone who desired to come forward & lay hands on me while he prayed - oh, so many came! I was so touched I began to cry right then! He prayed for a total healing!!! (Did I mention I worked for him also?)
The very next morning, the surgeon called the office, and the PET Scan revealed the 'new growth' was a patch of scar tissue!!!! Praise God! I then was transferred to the care of a specialist who deals with brain cancers/diseases only - he is wonderful and I/we decided I could try to come off the Temodar. (June 2000) He does require that I have MRI's every 8 weeks, and I am thankful and happy to tell you - ALL have been clear. He always states if he sees any change whatsoever, I will have to take it again, but I just keep praying and thanking God I have been healed.
UPDATE AS OF MAY 2003: My MRI scans and neurological exams are now scheduled every four months and have remained clear. I truly thank God, I am so very blessed. I was also asked to speak at the 2003 Relay For Life on behalf of the Survivors in Celebration, Florida. Relay For Life is the biggest annual fundraiser in the United States sponsored by the American Cancer Society. It was wonderful.
UPDATE AS OF OCTOBER 1, 2005: Now that I am cancer free after 5 years, my MRI's and neuorological exams have been stretched to one every 6 months! Praise the Lord!
If, after reading her story you have any questions, please feel free to email her by
This article will be updated shortly.