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Keeping the Faith

B Boyd



Submitted by:
Keeli Goza

My name is Brandye Boyd. My brain tumor journey began on August 12, 2010 as I was reading in Luke 10 about Mary and Martha. Our church was taking a mission trip to a children’s home in Africa and I really wanted to go but I was too worried about leaving my husband and 3 kids. As I was reading that day about faith, I wrote in my bible “Lord Increase My Faith”- thinking, increase my faith so I can go on this mission trip. The next day was my 36th birthday, so my husband and I were taking a trip and dropping the kids off with my brother in Covington, LA so we could spend the weekend in New Orleans, just the two of us. That whole summer, I would wake up with a headache and lack of energy but I coped by taking Excedrin migraine. I just thought it was because the kids were home and I was trying to keep them entertained. I had not really told my husband or anyone how bad I really felt. On our little weekend getaway he noticed something wrong with me and demanded I go to the doctor when we returned home. Looking back, I now see the personality changes my family and friends witnessed. I was experiencing bladder issues which I blamed on having 3 children, so thought maybe it was time to get my bladder tacked. I experienced a lot more characteristic changes, but blamed everything on something else. Monday morning, August 16th, I went to my OB GYN. I had never really been sick, so she was the first one I called. She told me I did have a UTI and if my headaches didn’t go away I needed to go to the ER. The next day, I went to MEA at Castlewood’s, hoping to get a shot, go home, take a nap, and wake up headache free. Boy was I in for a surprise! My husband came to the clinic to drive me home after receiving a Tordol shot. The doctor called SDI to schedule me for a MRI and luckily we were able to go straight over. After the scan, the tech handed my husband a disc and told us to go back to MEA for the results. As soon as we walked into MEA, we went straight to a room. The sweetest doctor, Marc Hellrung, came in and greeted us by name then said “I’ve prayed about how to tell you this…but you have a very large tumor on your brain that needs to be removed ASAP.” So my cancer journey began that day. I immediately went to see my long-time neurologist, Dr. Ruth Fredrick’s, and she immediately admitted me to St. Dominic’s. She called Dr. John Lancon who was so thorough and gave me much peace about having brain surgery. My tumor was embedded in a cyst the size of a grapefruit, on the right frontal lobe of my brain. On the MRI, you couldn’t even distinguish the midline of my brain. After steroids to reduce the swelling in my brain, and a few days on IV therapy, I had surgery that lasted 4-hours. Dr. Lancon braided my hair to make the incision from over my right ear, all the way around to top of my left eyebrow. He successfully removed all that he could. My tumor biopsy results indicated I had stage 3 cancer and it was very rare. My tumor is very aggressive because it has finger like projections that are still embedded in my brain. It is called a Gemistocytic Astrocytoma. After healing from surgery, I began radiation. Dr. David Wahl at Baptist was the great physician who administered the 9 weeks of radiation. I am so thankful that he studied my particular tumor because in all of his years of experience, even he had only seen a handful of patients with a Gemistocytic tumor. There are so many details in my ongoing journey; it’s hard to summarize my story. Most importantly, living with brain cancer has not stopped me from watching my boys every baseball game, hunting with my husband, and watching my girl cheer. Thankfully, I am still in this battle and enjoying life. Life is different now than it once was, but it’s now my new normal! I’m currently on my 3rd type of chemo, receiving treatments monthly at St. Dominic’s. I have an MRI every 3 months to monitor the growth. As of today, the tumor is stable. I firmly believe one day I will be cancer free, but until that day comes I am trusting in Jesus and enjoying life one day at a time.