My mom, Betty Ferguson, retired in January 2013 and lived in Charles Town, WV. Following retirement, we all had noticed mood changes, vision changes, and increasing headaches over the course of the year but we attributed many of the personality changes to her recent lifestyle change. Toward the end 2013 my sister had taken her to the doctor for depression and she was put on Lexipro for emotional instability, anxiety, and depression. On Thursday January 30, 2014, my mom came down with what we thought was a GI virus and had chronic vomiting and diarrhea. She became very weak and started to fall down frequently. On Saturday February 1, 2014, she had expressive speech difficulty and was admitted to the hospital for further evaluation. An MRI confirmed that she had several nebulous masses across the left lobe of her brain. A biopsy of the areas was performed on February 5, 2014, and she was diagnosed with a primary anaplastic astrocytoma grade III cancer on February 11, 2014. We were told that she has 3 nebulous areas (one at the base of the brain stem and 2 measuring in the occipital and parietal lobes), as well as dispersed areas across the left side of her brain. After seeking consult from a neuro-oncologist at UVA to confirm the pathology results and potential treatment options, we learned that she had glioblastoma multiforme(GBM).
After learning of a potential for GBM diagnosis in the hospital, I began researching any and every type of potential treatment option but after speaking with several neuro-oncologists, they recommended she start radiation first. After 3 treatments, she became weaker and weaker (she never really recovered from the GI virus) and decided she didn’t want to do it anymore.
While researching, it became apparent that treatment options for GBM are still in their infancy, but I assume that’s because FDA only allowed overall survival rates be used to evaluate clinical trial findings. I read about a recent coalition that’s been started to use imaging-related endpoints in clinical trials as the new standard! This is great news!
My mom’s health declined pretty rapidly and she passed away March 6, 2014. But we would love to honor her and am so grateful for everything that the Dr. Marnie Rose Foundation does and all that Marnie did. We are glad you are bringing awareness and research to light.
Team Name: Grandma Betty’s Angels