The Story of John

I am still waiting for Glioblastoma.IT ODV to be included in the regional list of voluntary organizations. The answer should arrive at the latest by mid-August even if I hoped it would arrive earlier. I found this story that I have decided to share with you.

John and Jessica Bostock were in the midst of exciting life changes when in the summer of 2015. John was 35, the couple had an 18-month-old daughter, and were setting up a farm. John had had almost constant headaches for months when he was so sick that Jessica had decided to take him to the emergency room at Norton Hospital in downtown Louisville. On July 4, 2015, he was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme.

This brain tumor is very aggressive and typically fatal. Most patients survive 12 to 18 months. About 25% of patients survive more than one year and 5% survive more than five years.

Three days after his diagnosis, neurosurgeons from the Norton Neuroscience Institute removed as much of the tumour as possible during the five-hour operation. Six weeks after surgery, John began radiotherapy and two years of oral chemotherapy.

Renato V. LaRocca, M.D., a neuro-oncologist at Norton Healthcare Brain Tumor Center is the first physician John remembers interacting with to treat him. Dr. LaRocca followed John throughout the whole therapeutic process.

At the first meeting, Dr. LaRocca explained his treatment plan to John and his family, recommending him in any case to seek a second opinion. The couple ultimately decided to rely on the full care of the Brain Tumor Center team, a collaboration between Norton Neuroscience Institute and Norton Cancer Institute.

John and his family have spent countless hours at the Norton Cancer Institute. The multidisciplinary care approach has brought multiple points of view from various specialists to collaborate on John’s case.

Dr. LaRocca was the principal investigator at Norton Healthcare in clinical trials of a new device that can slow the progress of glioblastoma. The device is a cap that fits the skull, must be worn almost continuously as it emits electric fields for the treatment of the tumour (TTF). These alternating electric fields can stop the division of cancer cells. The device, marketed under the name Optune, had just obtained FDA approval for the treatment of glioblastoma. John has been wearing the device almost around the clock for years.

John and his family reunited to celebrate five years of survival on July 4 last year when a phone call from Dr. LaRocca instantly turned joy into worry. The last resonance had revealed a suspicious spot. Other examinations and tests followed, and a biopsy was eventually performed. After two weeks of anxious waiting, the phone call from Dr. LaRocca arrived announcing that fortunately the tissue was benign and suggested to celebrate using Italian wine 😉

From this trip John and his family learned these lessons:

  • If you are experiencing chronic pain or unusual symptoms, visit a doctor. Moving forward without consulting a doctor is not the right choice.
  • Ask questions and ask for clarification if you don’t understand something. Chose to be followed by those who are willing to explain you.
  • Avoid consulting unreliable information, verify sources, and always consult a doctor for accurate information.
  • Practice a healthy lifestyle. Eat nutritious foods, stay hydrated, exercise regularly, and stay positive.
  • Do your best to keep living. Make the most of the time you have.
  • As difficult and frightening as the diagnosis is, don’t isolate yourself. Find trusted people from family and friends you can rely on.

They seem like great advice to me. This is the link to the original article from which I took this story. We need stories with a happy ending. I ask you again to continue to help the fundraising campaign for CUSP-ND for Emanuele by sharing the link in order to spread the word and raise awareness as many people as possible.