1309 Brighton Way, Lakeland FL 33813 stephanie@good-intents.com 863-259-9990

Joy’s Story

Joy with Winter Haven’s most famous 3 lb Chihuahua, Pancho.

“It’s high grade Glioma.” Let me rewind a little. I was at a lunch meeting with my business partner and a potential client. My phone rang. It was my mom. I ignored the first call. Not 2 minutes later, she was calling again. My mom never calls back to back. I answered the phone.

She was frantic an in tears telling me that she was being transported by ambulance to a hospital. “What hospital?!” I asked. “I don’t know yet.” Okay. Okay. Breathe. I told her to call me as soon as she knew.I stood at the entrance of Reececliff diner frantic. I dialed my husband’s phone number. Who dials anymore?! I couldn’t think straight. My mom is my only parent and my best friend. He answered and I started crying when I asked him to come pick me up. (My partner and I were carpooling that day) I explained my phone call from 20 seconds ago. I went back inside and excused myself so I could wait outside for my husband. It was July 31st, 2019.

We arrived at Lakeland Regional Health (hospital) before her ambulance did. They were unable to determine the issues that were causing the severe headache, edema, and disorientation. After 2 days an MRI provided the answer. The hospitalist had me sit down and showed the picture of what appeared to be a ping-pong sized tumor. He further explained a craniotomy would need to be performed to determined what exactly the tumor is…

A day later, the neurosurgeon entered and set a date for surgery. Long story short, we weren’t done. After surgery, and recovery, mom was still suffering.

We were referred to Moffitt Cancer Center. Joy received another MRI, it showed the tumor was never resected. More surgery was needed just a month after LRH had done so. Two brain surgeries within 30 days of each other. Mom was speechless. I was angry. Joy recovered amazingly from the second surgery. We are so happy to be with Moffitt and their care teams. They provide first rate care and treatment.

She has undergone 6 weeks of concurrent radiation & chemotherapy from October to November of 2019. In December, we enjoyed a Christmas vacation to the Florida Keys.

In early January, we were relieved to discover the tumors had not progressed… Then on January 30th mom started having some more issues. We ended up at Moffitt on Monday, February 10th. The next day she was having brain surgery for the 3rd time.

Right now we are in recovery mode, again. Our story is just one of many, but our goal is to have a greater impact and provide support to other’s as they begin their journey with brain cancer.

Glioblastoma is incurable, and the deadliest primary brain cancer that 13,000 Americans will be diagnosed with this year. Glioblastoma doesn’t discriminate by race, age, or gender. Anyone diagnosed will succumb to the disease and close to 95% die within 11-13 months of diagnosis. My mother received her diagnosis 7 months ago, as of this writing 2/22/2020. She has undergone 3 brain tumor resection/craniotomy surgeries, 5 months (ongoing) chemotherapy, 30 days of radiation, and she continues to smile and fight everyday with a determined spirit.