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The Faces of Brain Cancer

Three survivors of brain cancer similar to that affecting Sen. Edward Kennedy tell how they're coping.

Sara Bennett

Sara Bennett, 60, office supply store employee, Elyria, Ohio. Diagnosed May 7 with left temporal lobe glioblastoma.

In her work for a large chain office supply store, Sara shows customers how the machines work. "I never had any problem when a customer was coming in to make a purchase. I could tell them anything about the product."

Suddenly, that changed. "I'd be explaining a printer to a customer and halfway through the conversation, I'd lose my thought, I couldn't explain it."

Beginning in March 2008, she began to notice daily headaches, not typical for her.

By early May, she took a week off and got herself a thorough physical, a CT scan, and an MRI.

Her doctor then sent her to the Cleveland Clinic, where she got the bad news.

She underwent surgery in early May, and then during a checkup in the doctor's office had seizures. Looking back, she realizes she had suffered seizures while working at the computer.

Soon, she will start radiation and chemo.

A widow who lost her husband in 1999 and has eight grown children, she is still in good spirits."I don't get down, I don't let myself get down. It's like I have an inner peace. The doctors and everyone I have talked to have been very honest. They have explained things 100 percent."

Her religious faith helps keep her calm, she says. What also helps? She is convinced that "my husband has been watching out for me. That may sound strange to some people."

But she believes it is true.

Kennedy's strength -- some of it, unfortunately, from dealing with so many family tragedies -- will keep him going, Sara says. "He seems to have a very good outlook."


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