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Keeping the Faith




Submitted by:
Kathy Gammie

In July 2019, Bonnie started experiencing facial spasms and slurred speech. She went to the ER fearing
that she might be having a stroke. What they found instead was a Glioblastoma Grade 4 tumor in the
left frontal lobe of her brain. When she asked for a prognosis, the neurosurgeon told her that it was
impossible to say, but for someone her age the average was about 3-9 months after diagnosis. She
subsequently underwent brain surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. The surgeon was able
to remove most but not all of the tumor and the surgery left her with severe aphasia.
After the initial treatment, which lasted several months and seemed to have kept the remaining tumor
in check, Bonnie started a second round of chemotherapy, but had to stop the treatment early because
her platelet count dropped to a dangerously low number as a result of the chemotherapy treatment.
This was concerning initially, but fortunately for the next 18 months, including the first year of the
pandemic, her quarterly MRIs continued to show no tumor growth.
In July 2021, Bonnie’s gait changed and her speech deficit worsened. When they did an MRI, we could
see that the tumor had grown and spread in multiple directions. The neuro-oncologist recommended
against another surgery at that point because the tumor had spread to the corpus collosum which
connects the two sites of the brain. They recommended trying another round of chemotherapy. At the
midpoint and end of this round the MRIs showed minor improvement and no visible progression, which
was a better result than the doctor had expected. At the completion of the round, the doctor
recommended she pause treatment and monitor with quarterly MRIs.
In March 2022, Bonnie’s symptoms worsened again and the MRI showed progression of the tumor. At
this point, another round of chemotherapy was recommended by the doctor. After 2 cycles, however,
she became convinced that the chemotherapy was no longer helping and made the decision to halt
Bonnie likes Panera Bread and pizza from a bar near her condo. She was always willing to travel and see
new places. She enjoyed seeing theatrical productions and attended the Chicago Dance Fest for several
years. I will always have some of Bonnie in me.