Project Description


Whitney writes, “In the Winter of 2005, I was in my last semester of college at UGA, interviewing for jobs and ready to start my life. I was supposed to visit my older sister in Atlanta for Valentine’s Day, but I never showed up. She tried calling and I wouldn’t pick up my cell phone. She alerted our mom to the situation and my mom tried calling me. After several days, she was finally able to reach me. All I would say is my head hurts and I can’t talk. Concerned, my Mom rushed to Athens. This behavior was not like me. She found me in the bed, where evidently I had been for 3 days. She took me to the UGA health center where they initially thought I had the flu. The next morning, the doctor said he had thought about me all night and he had a feeling there was more to my illness. He sent me to the hospital. There, I had an MRI and a brain tumor was found. I was life-flighted to MCG where I underwent brain surgery a few days later. Initially, the tumor was diagnosed as a benign pilocytic astrocytoma. But, that was a misdiagnosis. The tumor returned in 2007. I underwent Gamma Knife radiation at MCG. This procedure did not kill the cancer. Tissue from the original resection was sent to a facility in Boston. There, it was classified as a glioma. As we, my family, doctors and I, continued to discuss treatment options my mom found out about proton beam radiation on the internet and started to pursue that as a treatment option. My father and I went down to Jacksonville, Fl to check it out. It was a fit! I was eligible for treatment! I underwent Proton therapy for 6 weeks in the Fall of 2008. This treatment killed my cancer!! In May 2013, after many follow-up visits and yearly MRIs, I was officially pronounced cancer free!”

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