Taylor, Breann | Surviving Mesothelioma

Taylor, Breann

Do not Give Up!

This essay will help me express some of my personal experiences, what I did in some similar situations that Rhio faced. Some of the memories, experiences that I have had help me understand Rhio’s situation better than others. What questions to ask your doctor and questions you would ask yourself? What research and steps you would take to get the right treatment, also what decisions would be the best for the best outcome.

Being a 12-year-old girl faced with headaches every day, hurt my school work and made me tired all the time. One day my headaches got so bad that my parents took me to Primary Children’s Medical Hospital. There I got a CAT scan and waited in the treatment room for the doctors to come in. Sitting there with my parents, two doctors walked in and told my parents that their little girl had a brain tumor, Medulloblastoma. A tumor located in the back part of the brain, blocking some of the spinal fluid from going down the spinal cord. That is what the doctors diagnosed me with at age 12. My headaches had made my head feel like a bowling ball; heavy, because all some of the spinal fluid was building up in my head causing to put pressure on the eyes and give me bad headaches, it was also starting to affect my balance. Being so young and not really knowing what the doctors had just told my parents, my response to that was “does that mean I get to stay the night?” My parents had taken me to Primary Children’s Medical Center on January 13, 2002. My parents, of course, then called everyone to tell then the news. They had broken down into tears; I have never seen my parents cry so much.

The next day, they gave me an MRI scan. That day, my parents met the man who would be operating on me, Dr. Walker. While talking to my parents, my mom told me that Dr. Walker started to come to tears. She said when he started to come to tears like that; they knew he was the right guy to do the job. Then after the surgery, I had to make plans for treatment. I had to go through the steps to get prepared for radiation. The head cast, the tattoo’s (little markings for them to be able to line up the lasers properly). That was a very painful process.

After going through radiation and small doses of chemotherapy, I hit the heavy chemo. I had to do the radiation for about 2 months before the big chemo. The thing about radiation is it totally killed my taste buds, so I never ate. Due to never having the urge to eat, I lost 30 lbs. I had feeding tubes put down my nose and one surgically put straight into my stomach, and neither helped me eat or gain weight.

The chemotherapy really kicked my butt. The cycle of chemo that I had to do was 1 night in the hospital for the lighter dose of chemo, then a week break. Than I had to go back into the hospital for 3 days for the heavy dose of chemo; this part of the cycle always made me very sick and vomit. Then after that I had a 3 week break before I started the cycle all over again, I did this for 2 years. During the time, that I was doing chemo there were many things that went bad. I won’t tell you details of everything that went bad, but here is a quick little list of some of the things: shingles, spinal tap, port put into my arm, infected stomach feeding tube, blood transfusion, allergic reaction to an antibiotic. The fact that I could not keep food down for the life of me did not really help the situation.

Going through this made me ask myself so many things, why me? Will I make it? Questions like this made me realize many things. Both my parents and I asked many questions about all the treatment that I was given, questions like: What will this do to me in the end? Will this help my outcome? How will it affect me now? The only way I could feel better about my situation was if I looked at it in a different way and if I put all my trust in my doctors and the trust in my parents to make the right decision for me.

Being a child when I went through this, made it difficult for me to understand the treatment and what would be the best treatment path for me. Thankfully, I had my parents by my side that were there for me and always understood and explained things and my treatment in the best way they could. Now that I am grown and look back, there are things I wish that could have been done differently. If I had known that, I would lose so much weight I would have made them do something to help me gain weight. Even though I had feeding tubes and hunger pills, I still did not gain any weight; I just kept losing more and more. I would have asked for the doctors and nurses to listen to me more clearly and understand what needed to be done for me at the time. I understand that some of the things I went through were part of dealing with this disease, buy I felt like if they had listened to me a little better I could have gotten better treatment on some things that I went through. Getting so sick all the time, I would have asked for better medicine to help me not get so nauseated.

Now looking back and remembering all I went through, being so young when it happened, it makes me realize how lucky I am to have what I have. It makes me cry because of the fact that I was so young when I went through this.

I am now going to school to become a medical office specialist. I have already gone to school for my CNA (certified medical assistant). What I really want to do now is help those kids who have been put into the situation that I was put into 8 years ago. I want to help them understand some of the things they do not understand, I want to use my experiences to help others and myself move toward the future.

“CANCER WILL NOT WIN, I WILL NOT GIVE UP!” That is what I told myself repeatedly during my cancer.

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