The Faces of Brain Cancer
Three survivors of brain cancer similar to that affecting Sen. Edward Kennedy tell how they're coping.
Maria Hartmann continued...
At the same time as she was fighting her brain cancer, her brother-in-law was fighting stomach cancer. "My sister kept saying, 'I cannot lose my sister and my husband at the same time.' My surgery was in January 1998. I went with him to all his chemo and radiation. He died in May 1998."
When Maria's 25th wedding anniversary came around, she was still in chemo. She told her husband where she wanted to go -- Lourdes, a Christian pilgrimage destination. Her son, now 30,and daughter, now 28, went along.
"It's a place of inspiration," she says. "Everyone is looking for a cure.The waters are cold. There is nothing in the water, it is just our faith. There is a big tank of water where you submerge. I couldn't go in beyond my knees. '''
"I only wanted strength -- strength to endure whatever I had to endure."She has had good news. "It's been five years or more that the MRI came back with no change."
"I would tell Sen. Kennedy not to give up. I wrote him a note, [advising him] not to listen to statistics. Because many things can happen."
"I believe my recovery is a miracle."
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.