In 2002 my partner and I were working in the heat at our power plant in the mist of summer in Arizona. All of a sudden I felt a pressure building up in the right side of my head. I started seeing red, green, and blue sparkling stars blinking and going around in circles. Everyone was thinking I was having a stroke. They took me to our trailer, which was our on the job office. It was air conditioned and I spent about an hour and a half before the symptoms went away. The next day it happened again and the same thing was done. I went home made a doctors appointment and by the time I got to see the doctor I was having 6-8 seizures a day. Well, he told me that he was going to get some test scheduled but in the meantime, if it happened again, to get my self to the emergency room. When I got home I had another one, and my wife took me to ER.
I spent 7 days doing all kinds of tests before they told me they were sending me to another hospital. They said they didn’t know if I had a stroke or brain cancer. Well, the next day they did a biopsy and found the tumor. I was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma, grade III. They told me I had 6 months to a year to live. I got started on my radiation treatment as well as chemotherapy. I was taking temodar for chemo. Well after a couple of weeks of radiation I started to lose my hair around my left ear and I told my wife that since my life looked short I was going to have some fun with it. I told her I was going to get a Mohawk for fun. I went to my salon to get the Mohawk. The girls there knew I was diagnosed with cancer. The stylist asked if I wanted to have some more fun. When I left there I had 6 different colors on my head. My wife loved it and so did I. From then on I have done this every year for our Relay for Life as well as my anniversary of battling cancer to which I’ve had fun doing. I enjoy reaching out to other survivors.
My treatments were 7 weeks of radiation and about 2 years of chemo. Side effects did not show up until about one year ago. Where my radiation was given, my left eyelid shuts sometimes. My sodium level dropped to where I spent four days fighting it. My left ear is also waxing up and I’m losing hearing.
I have learned to keep a positive attitude and try to make the best of things. I feel the Mohawk has really kept me going because it’s fun. It’s also fun when people ask about it. The first year was a tough one, as some people were pretty rude at times. With that I learned not to judge people by their looks, but how they talk and represent themselves while talking to you. I like to get the word out to survivors that some how there is some kind of way to fight!
After a 9 year battle, my recent blood work shows no signs of cancer! I have to keep up with my medications and follow up visits with my doctor. Do not give up hope. God bless and keep a positive attitude.