Bam! The phone rings at like 7:30pm that night and it’s Bill’s doctor. The doctor continues to tell Bill that he has a tumor the size of a baseball. . . . . and needs to have it removed immediately. Oh my word what were we hearing??? We both were in shock….no word to describe the feeling.
So a couple days later he’s in for a crainiotony with our family and friends with us at the hospital.
Now what I didn’t tell you was Billy’s Grandmother has brain tumors, but they were never cancer so she continued to lead a pretty normal life. And we all assumed it was the same thing as there grandma. Not cancer……
Well he was in surgery for hours I can’t even remember how long his surgery was. But when the surgeon comes out with a nurse at his side you know something’s not right.
Well the doctor starts telling us how Well Bill did in the surgery and how he’s resting in ICU. Okay, I thought but what about the tumor.
He continues to tell us Bill has a GBM Grade 4 malignant brain tumor. They had sent it out for a second opinion to San Francisco and confirms its a GBM) He continues to say that he thought Bill has about 6 months to live. As I fell on the floor literally. I started vomiting and my two sister in laws had to drag me to the bath room.
At that point I blacked out.
As I came To I had to go see Billy. Especially because I said to Billy I would be the first face you see when you come out of surgery. Well I just couldn’t , his parents went in first then my father then me.
So when I go into the room to see Billy he stared at me with these blue eyes and says “do I have cancer” we were told by the doctor not to tell Billy he had cancer because he needs his strength to recover…..other wise he could just give up and die” what the hell !!! Well as I spoke to him. . . .I tried lying but I just couldn’t. I told him yes he had brain cancer and crawled up into his bed and cried with him.
3 days later he was sent home with hospice. Well I wasn’t going to use hospice at this point because I thought Bill didn’t need it. Because he was walking and talking normally. So I didn’t call them at that point.
After all this had happened there was no time for any research. Bill had his surgery at St. Bernadine’s in San Bernardino. They took out 90% of the tumor and said it was deep seeded. But we got lucky to have such a great Dr. do his surgery. His name was Dr. Rowe.
So when we get home and I become a robot along with my mother , my dad, and Bills dad we began our research on the internet, making phone calls, anything we could do to find a doctor to see that Billy stayed alive. Like mad people We research and researched! As you could imagine we never heard of a GBM until that day..
My research lead me to 3 other doctors.
So I made apps at the two that were here in Los Angeles. Dr.Clouhsey at UCLA wanted to re open Billys tumor site and place chemo wafers in there) and Dr.Black at USC. wanted to re open his brain and take out more brain neither of these options would work for us.
We weren’t going to settle for just anyone. . . . we wanted the best for Bill. After all our research we learned that reopening the tumor site causes the cancer to grow more rapidly.
So NO WAY were we going to do that.
So our next doctor went to see was in North Carolina at The Brain Tumor Center at DUKE was Dr. Henry Friedman. Needing money for all this our friends started raising money for us to help save Bills life. They did raffles, car washes, silent auctions, and had a softball tournament with all the bells and whistles!!
We raised so much money, and it was put into a FightForLifeFund for Bill Brighton. So many people reached out it was incredible. We’re very thankful for everyone’s help. So Bill’s dad, myself and Billy board the plane and off we went. No even knowing what to expect. We touch down in North Carolina and meet with Dr. Friedman.
As we’re waiting in the room for the doctor we’re all nerves of course but when he walks in I swear I knew that second he was the doctor for us. He was so passionate, caring and seemed absolutely concerned for Bill. So he was the first doctor to say let’s kill this beast before it grows back.
That’s all it took. Dr. Friedman would prescribe Bill his chemo and radiation.
Then we would fly home and go to Bill’s oncologist to administer what Dr.Friedman would prescribe. Our 2 doctors worked beautiful together.
Bill was used as a trial person for all of these chemos and they bombarded him with Temodar, CPT-11, some other chemos I forgot, Celebrex, and radiation. Dr. Friedman said Bill was as healthy as a horse and Bill could take to amounts of the experimental chemos he was prescribing. So Bill went through the whole chemo, radiation process with almost no symptoms, although, he did have some vomiting, sickness et… cetera. But for the most part Bill continued to work.
Yes he took some time off when needed but he was so young. At age 30, Bill was very fit as the doctor had no problem with him continuing to work. At one point I did have to put my foot down and told the doctor . . . . Bill couldn’t take the last treatment of CPT-11. He had lost 40 lbs in one week. So we didnt do it.
Because Bill was on deaths door.
As I thought these doctors work for us. You shouldn’t let the doctors make them work for you. As I made damn sure that our doctors new this. I was very young 28 and very aggressive and pushy when it came to Bill’s life. My true feelings: he had to see our boys grow up.
As you can imagine after all the treatments were done and Billy had his first MRI after treatment it showed necrosis. This met it didn’t grow back… so they decided not to put Billy on any more treatments and only MRI’s every 3-6 months. That was scary no more treatments…. I thought yikes but I had to believe in the doctor and Billy.
Billy never complained about being sick as a matter of fact he said he knows he will beat it. Very positive never negative. That’s just Bills nature. He did have some eye issues that remained but nothing that he couldn’t adjust too. He’s a miracle too me.
So we continued life as normal and after 2.5 years Dr.Friedman said your cancer is still in remission (Bill your still cancer free). Wow couldn’t have asked for anything better in life. We were so happy. However the doctor did state Bill would be sterile after all that chemo. And that was Fine with us. However on April 5, 2004 . . . . I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She was a miracle baby too.
We couldn’t believe we finally had a girl.
She was so precious and beautiful it was undeniable to me that Bills Cancer was gone and he would live to see our 4 kids grow up. As the years moved on anxiety started to go away, MRIs stopped and we were just a normal family again.
Don’t get me wrong it was the hardest thing ~ I have ever had to go through. After years and years went by I had a few midlife crisis myself from PTSD, however, Bill continues to support me in anyway he could. In some ways I feel I’m not good enough for him. He beat the hardest cancer in the world and I have midlife crisis on my plate. Life is not easy!
It sucks when a loved one becomes sick with cancer. I lost my dad to lung cancer 7 years ago. Life throws so many obstacles at you but if you take it with a grain of salt and stay positive things always work out. Except if cancer is involved.
We all have seen the black beast first hand as well as the person going through it but remember it’s 2 individuals going through a different process. Bills path was much different then my path of being his wife. You need to take all information in account. We learned so much through our journey I wanted to share this story with others to give them hope. There is always Hope. I pray they find a CURE now. We’ve lost too many people to this disease and don’t need to lose more. I hope this story helps some of you to believe there is hope and miracles do happen.
Love, Allison Brighton. ✲ ƤҼƌҪҼ ✲ ~☆҉‿ ℒℴνℯ´⁀☆҉ ~ ღϠ₡ღ !!!!!!