Karina Gress

I miss my Mom every day. She lost her battle on June 18th, and the whole family is still in shock.

One day last summer my Mom blacked out while driving. We thought it was low blood sugar, which she's always struggled with, but blood tests came up fine. But we had noticed some personality changes, not focusing, memory issues, but kinda just blew it off to her getting older.  So her doctors decided to do an CT scan just to see what was going on.  She had a tumor the size of a gold ball in her frontal lobe.  She had surgery and a round of radiation, and they declared her cancer free.  Huntsman Cancer institute in Salt Lake City was awesome. 

In the late fall we noticed her personality changing again, so after Christmas my step-dad insisted she get another MRI.  The tumor was back in a very aggresive form, glioblastoma.  They tried a round of chemo, that didn't work, so they did another surgery this past spring.  They were able to remove 95% of it, but told us not enough is known about this tumor, so our only option was Avastin to keep it small.  They gave her a prognosis of about a year to live.  Well, barely 6 weeks later, on June 18th, 2012, she was gone.  The tumor was growing so fast, there was nothing they could do, and we were all by her side as her brain stopped sending signals to her body, and she just faded away.  None of us thought it would happen so fast. My birthday was in May, and she was walking around no problem and I talked to her on the phone daily. Once that tumor took over, she lost some function every day.  My step-dad called me to come home (I live in Wa state, they're in Utah) to help her settle into hospice and to visit with her while I could.  I never knew it would be my last visit with my Mom, as once she started to decline it only took 4 days for her body to shut down.

The hard part is doctor's hands seem to be tied.  There just isn't enough knowledge about brain tumors, what causes them and how to treat them.  I get frustrated when I see all the attention paid to breast cancer, and the whole "wear pink" "save the ta-tas" fad, when it's 80% survivable, and the cancer my mom has is 85% fatal, and little money is available for research and testing.

I miss my Mom every day, and pray more funding for research is found to stop this terrible disease from affecting another family.