My name is Diana McEntyre, and in February of 2003, I was diagnosed with and had surgery for an anaplastic astrocytoma III. At the time I was 49 years old. I have been a bank teller for the last 18 years in Dallas, Georgia. At the time of this writing, I have been married to Steve McEntyre for 31 years, and I have two sons, Ryan, 27, and Brandon 23. I have been a member of Lost Mt. Baptist Church for the last 20 or so years.
While at work, I felt a "funny"sensation in my head, the only way I can describe it is a change of perception of things around me, this would be followed by a weakness in my left arm, only from the elbow down to the hand. I was told later this was a focal Seizure. (The Tumor was pressing down hard on the Corpus Callosum, the part of the brain that is made of nerve fibers, Deep in the brain, that pass through and connect the two halves of the cerebral hemispheres.) The tumor was a little more to the right side of my brain, thus the focal seizures were in my left hand and arm.
I experienced these focal seizures very sporadically, and after the first seizure, I didn't have another for two weeks. In about three weeks the seizures were coming more frequently, so I made a doctor's appointment. After the usual "squeeze my finger" and "watch my eyes" exam, I was sent for an MRI the next morning. I was going to have to leave work in the middle of the morning for the MRI, the last person I waited on at my drive-in teller window was not a regular customer and she was wearing a hat with gold angel pins all over the top and sides. I believe that God sent her to me at that particular time with those angels on her head to let me know that He would protect my head too. Angels don't always have to be floating around on a cloud. The Bible says in Hebrews 13:2, " Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." To me what was so amazing was that this "angel lady" never did a transaction, she drove through and stopped, and then looked up and said she would have to come back later! Neither me or my co-worker, Claire, knew her name, and we knew we had never seen her before. God knew that in only a few short hours I would find out I had a deadly tumor in the middle of my brain. God knew I would need comforting from here on out, and sending her to me and seeing her gave me great comfort.
I was immediately sent to see the surgeon and the details of the surgery, called a " Craniotomy" were arranged for six days away. During the waiting time for the surgery I was reminded of and meditated on Roman's 8:28 which in the Bible says "We know that in ALL things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Yes, I was never so scared in my life, but I knew that God would use this for his Glory, as long as I kept seeking His will during this time.
I was finally at peace with the surgery when the day came and the doctors allowed me to take a stained glass angel that my mother made into the operating room with me. The Bible says in Phil. 4:6-7 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Before I was put to sleep, I turned everything over to God to take good care of me.
After a day or two in ICU I was put into a room. I was already told the pathology results, and considering all I had been through, I was in really good shape. I had no residual effects from the surgery, in fact, I really felt better than I had in quite a while. It was not until after the surgery that I realized I had been living with a dull headache for so long that I had become accustomed to it. It was such a relief to have that "thing" out of my head!
It was suggested to me by several qualified people to seek more than one opinion for my treatments. To make a long story shorter, I ended up at the Duke University Brain Tumor Clinic in Durham, North Carolina, which is headed up by Drs. Henry and Allan Friedman. (no, they are not related to each other).
The treatment plan was for me to receive my treatments at home in Georgia, with the doctors in N.C. over-seeing everything. I started chemo, which was Temodar, 4 weeks after the surgery. My plan was to do 2 cycles of Temodar followed by 2 cycles of CCNU, alternating back and forth for a total of 14 months. I started radiation, with Dr. Ken Haile, for 30 treatments. Six weeks, five days a week.
I had pronounced fatigue and moderate Nausea during this time. I went back to work 8 weeks after surgery, and some days I had to leave early because of being so weak and tired. All during this time God sent me signs that he was always with me. I had always been a very healthy person - I walked, exercised and had kept my weight down. I had never in my life drank alcohol, or smoked or abused my body in any way. I could not exercise, diet, charm or pay my way out of this situation. Getting healed from this Cancer was completely up to God, if it was his will.
In May, 2004, I had a PET scan at the Duke Brain Tumor Center, which showed there was no cancer to be seen. I was then put on Tamoxifen and Celebrex to take for the next twelve months. These two medicines have been shown, in some cases, to prevent tumor regrowth. I had to stop this therapy after six months due to an infarct (light stroke) in the resection cavity. It was also at this time that the use of Celebrex was called into question after some patients had reported dangerous side effects.
Seven months after surgery, in August of 2003, my co-worker, Claire, found my "Angel Lady". Her name is Ludie McClure. We found out later she was to bring something to the bank for a friend, but had left it at home. When I told her what she meant to me the day I was diagnosed, she hugged me and cried and told me that each morning she prays for God to use her to bless somebody! This was NOT a coincidence that she came by at the exact moment I was preparing to leave, she didn't have an account with us, she wore the hat with the gold angel pins, and she prays to be a blessing to someone every day.
My co-workers placed posters up in the drive in window for the customers to pray for me while I was out and after I came back to work. Thousands of people each month come through that drive in window and see the signs, and see me sitting right there, healed from a Malignant brain tumor!! What a witness!! It's been two years since my surgery and I thank God every single morning for healing me and teaching me to trust Him completely.
"Hope" is knowing and appreciating beyond words that I have been given a second chance at life. The Bible says ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE, ONLY BELIEVE!
At this time, 2 years later, I am pretty much back to my old self. The only medicine I'm on is Dilantin, to keep me from ever having any more seizures, and I take a multi vitamin and calcium plus D. I'm working a full schedule and try to walk at least 2 miles each day after work.
If you're reading this and just beginning your walk with a brain tumor, you CAN be healed, and you CAN get your life back. It just takes a little while, a lot of prayer, and a lot of patience.
May God Bless
Diana with her Angel!
Can you add to my story that as of August 27, 2005 I am two and a half years clear!
I have gotten a couple of E-mails from around the country saying they have read my story, I'm sure your original plan to inform others about what Jesus Christ has done for you is continued when I respond to these E-mails, because I tell them the same thing about what Jesus Christ has done for me too! And what he can do for THEM.
Updated March 18, 2006
As of February 2006 I am now 3 years with clear MRI's! Praise God!
Updated January 11, 2007
I am now a 4 year survivor of an anaplastic astrocytoma III! Praise God and give Him ALL the GLORY!
Next month ( February) will be the 6th anniversary of my surgery! (and to think I wasn't supposed to live over 18 months!!!) God is so good.