My GBM Story: Deb D.
Life coach Deb D.’s first direct experience with glioblastoma came on Sept. 14, 2009, when her ex-husband first exhibited symptoms of GBM with elements of PNET – a childhood tumor that is rare in adults.
Her second experience came to her in a dream four years later, followed by her first symptoms, coincidentally also on Sept. 14.
Her extraordinary story has been featured in ‘Chicken Soup For The Soul – Dreams and Premonitions’ and a one-woman show performed in Los Angeles and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
It started with a call from her son, Guillaume, to report that his dad was in hospital after suffering a seizure. He underwent standard-of-care treatment and two surgeries, but died in February 2011, 17 months after diagnosis. Two years later, he visited Deb in a dream.
It’s a terribly scary diagnosis, but not a death sentence. We are all unique and just a statistic of ONE.
— Deb D.
“He metaphorically warned me that I had a serious health issue,” Deb said. “Although my soul knew the meaning, I resisted tooth and nail. However, our dreams don’t lie. This dream saved my life and was proof to me that in spite of our differences, love prevailed.”
Several weeks later, Deb was wiped out by a violent headache and vomiting. The urgent care physician said it was probably due to a heat wave and sent her home with painkillers. Deb mentioned her dream in a follow-up visit to her primary care doctor and requested an MRI. He obliged, and the scan showed a mass that was confirmed as GBM.
“Straight to the ER, then to the hospital, and on Nov 2, the day my ex-husband would have turned 60, they removed all the visible parts of a GBM. I was released two days later, on my 60th birthday.”
Standard-of-care has worked out well for Deb. On May 2, 2020, she celebrated 6 1/2 years of thriving with GBM.
“No recurrences, no debilitating side effects and all clear, boring scans, NED! My neuro-oncologist calls me his exceptional patient.”
Deb’s advice for newly diagnosed patients:
- Be proactive, get more opinions.
- Listen to your gut. If your head and heart are wondering if you should call your doctor about something, then do it.
- Seek support from others. Join one of the many Facebook groups or cancer support centers around the country. I have also been uplifted by the wonderful memoirs written by brain tumor survivors.
- Be open to the opportunities and challenges along the way and focus on the far right end of the bell curve, where the long-term survivors hang out.
- You’ll find your own way on this journey. It will take some time and no one can tell you how to do that or how long, but you will find what works for you.