Overcoming Brain Cancer One Mountain at a Time
In June 2000, Cheryl Broyles noticed the first signs of a brain tumor. She was 33 years old and working as a wildlife biologist in Oregon when she started having headaches that felt like explosions. She headed to the doctor for an MRI and found out that her brain was hemorrhaging. She was determined to be active and hopeful and immediately scheduled surgery. When it was done, they found a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tumor the size of an acorn in her left temporal lobe and informed her that she only had a year to live.
Diagnosis and Cancer Treatment
Hearing this, Cheryl realized that the love of her husband Mat and their two sons was the most important thing in her life, so she quit her job to spend every moment she had left with them. She also fought back with brain tumor treatment in the form of conformal brain radiation, but due to side effects, doctors told her she had only three months left to live. She focused on her family and tried to stay healthy, but the GBM came back in 2004. Cheryl went in for a second brain tumor surgery facing a chance of losing her speech, but time with her family trumped her fear.
Surgery and Remission
When the tumor came back for the third time, she went in for another brain cancer surgery, wide awake and brave as the doctor aggressively removed the pea-sized tumor and tried to stave off future cancerous growth where possible. When the tumor came back for the fourth time in 2009, it was in the tissue layer covering her brain and the doctor was able to clear the tumor and not even touch the brain, giving Cheryl renewed hope and a desire to fight however she could to remain cancer-free.
By 2011, after years of MRIs, she remained cancer-free without having to undergo any further cancer treatments. She stays positive, loves her family and tries to infuse her whole life with a sense of optimism that she believes will keep the brain cancer in remission. She enjoys her life and watching her two sons grow into young men. Cheryl knows that others struggle to find that hope, so she dedicates time to connecting with other people battling brain tumors.
Support and Community
Cheryl treats every day like a celebration. Even while she was struggling with the cancer in 2004, she celebrated her survival by climbing Mount Shasta in California. Cheryl firmly believes that the key to emotionally surviving brain cancer is support in the form of family and a community of cancer survivors. She works hard to spread this philosophy to her fellow surviv