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HealthIamA 23 year old who has been battling grade 4 brain cancer since 2012; AMA!

Jun 10th 2017 by onemanbandjo • 19 Questions • 398 Points

I started battling grade 4 glioblastoma at the age of 18. 3 brain tumors, 1 brain surgery, 53 sessions of radiation, 5 different chemotherapies, and over 1 year of physical therapy. Still battling and still smiling.

Proof: https://www.facebook.com/Prayers4Richie/

Q:

Dude, where are located? I was diagnosed with an inoperable Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma in 2015 at the age of 20. If you ever feel like talking with someone your own age that is going through a similar situation with brain cancer, please do not hessite to get in touch!! Much love brother

A:

Thanks so much. One tumor was in the middle of the brain but shifted to the right. It wasn't operated on but it's gone! Tumor #2 is on the right side of the brain, about 1-2 inches above the temple but deeper in the brain. Tumor #3 is on the left side and like tumor #2 but on the left.


Q:

What symptoms led you to go to the doctor when you got diagnosed?

A:

I knew I had two tumors in my brain two years before I had surgery, but the doctors hadn't been worried until 2012 when they started to grow. Most of my symptoms were migraines, loss of feeling in my left side of my body, seizures, and mental fogginess.


Q:

How did you find out that you had those tumors in the first place though? Was it routine or did something happen to make you go have it checked out?

A:

I kept failing a peripherals test (I don't have left peripheral vision) So, I was to get an MRI. Then, 2 tumors were found.


Q:

Wow... That's a lot to deal with so young.

My mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer... I just wanna know what keeps you going every day? I'm worried for her and I want to do my best to keep her happy but I have no idea what to even say at this point.

A:

The best thing to do is just keep her happy however you can. I see happiness as a medicine. It works for me and I believe it can work for her as well. Be empathetic, but don't treat her any differently. Make her smile and smile with her.


Q:

How can you be empathetic and not treat her differently?

I have my own ideas, but what's your side of things?

A:

I don't believe it's true empathy if you do. I just wanted to point it out.

Side of things towards what exactly?


Q:

Please share it my dude. Love to hear it!


Q:

When you had brain surgery, did all the tumors get removed?

A:

No. Only part of one tumor was removed, and the rest of that tumor ended up being malignant. The second tumor was inoperable because of its location. At the time, I didn't have my third tumor.


Q:

This is a really weird question, but what did the craniotomy feel like afterwards?

A:

I had brain surgery in 2012, so my head was sore then. Nowadays it's minor headaches.


Q:

Depending on the surgery, they do actually have the patient awake for parts in some cases. They'll anesthetize them to get through the scalp and skull, and wake them up to have them answer questions so they can map out regions of the brain.

A:

Haha that's because with some brain surgeries you do stay awake but I was actually asleep for mine. So, I didn't feel a thing. They gave me anesthesia.


Q:

Absolutely.

I expect an AMA in a few years time! Good luck bro.

A:

Thank you very much my friend :)


Q:

[deleted]

A:

30 minutes before I took chemo, I would take another pill to help me with my nausea. I follow a vegan diet, so I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.


Q:

Is there something that presses you on to keep living? 5 years sounds like a really long time to have cancer, I don't know about the cancer that you have, is it debilitating and you can't do a lot? Are you missing out on going to school or anything? I read you do music.

A:

I did have to stop school but I know that everything is for a reason. Because I know that, I'm never really worried. All this time I've been undertaking this battle has been great and I'm grateful.


Q:

What is your favorite activity and has that changed since your road to recovery??

A:

It's writing music and it never changed before and after the journey began.


Q:

How are you able to pay the costs? I imagine the cost

A:

Yes it's very expensive. I live with my parents and they pay the medical bills. It's hard to afford it all, so if you're willing to contribute please visit;

https://www.gofundme.com/prayers4richie

Thanks :)


Q:

This very comment above me gives me so many more reasons why I should thank god daily....what amazing faith you have..

A:

Thank you so much and yes! God deserves thanks to EVERYTHING!!!


Q:

I'm a vegan too! I always encourage all my friends who have any health issues to eat more vegan meals. I really believe what you eat can have a significant impact on your illnesses. What's your favorite vegan meal?

A:

That's awesome! So, don't hate me because I'm a not a full time vegan but I am full time vegetarian.

My favorite meal is actually yellow rice with pineapple, white onions, cilantro, Hawaiian seasoning sauce, topped with avocados that have chili powder sprinkled on top :)


Q:

what is the worst part of chemotherapy?

how did most of your friend/family react?

A:

Just the nausea chemo causes.

A lot of them (I think all) were in total shock. They were also in shock how positive I reacted to the news.


Q:

Do you believe in God?

A:

Yes I do. Very much


Q:

I noticed my comment got a load of down votes, I didn't mean anything bad by it or to offend you, sorry.

A:

No don't worry bud. I'm not offended or anything. No need to apologize but thank you for taking the time to do so.