The Story of my Daughter Giulia

I received this story from Stefania Brizzolari, Giulia’s mother whom I got to know in the past months. You can imagine what my state of mind may be at this moment. Our brain is a wonderful system but it works associatively and this violently brings me back with all my senses to about two years ago. I understand how difficult it must have been for Stefania to find the force to write these words and for this I thank her. I leave part of these words to you in their entirety as Stefania wrote them, as if it were a gift. Glioblastoma is an ugly beast, it changes, adapts and develops resistance very quickly to any therapeutic strategy that can be devised and unfortunately certain strategies are incompatible with others. The sad reality is that today only 25% of patients pass the first year and only 5% the second.

I tell you the story of my daughter Giulia so that it can be of help to those who are facing the ugly beast “glioblastoma, 4th degree”. …
From Giulia never a concern, a doubt, a fear, a little girl first and a little girl then, always orderly, studious, shy but keen observer and curious about everything, who first expressed her thoughts and desires with her drawing and then by writing.
She was polite and respectful as if to demonstrate a maturity that has always filled us with pride.
At the age of 16 Giulia decides to leave and spend a year in the United States, a guest in what will become her second family, attending the fourth year of high school, radically changing her way of life and facing the difficulties due to the language and the fact of being alone, with a lot of energy and a pinch of madness.
Back in Italy, she brings with her a new awareness and maturity that will distinguish her from her peers. She and she is a satisfied girl, full of experiences and happy, who can’t wait to travel and discover new countries.
After graduating from high school and enrolled at the University of Padua, she dedicates herself body and soul to studying and after the three years, she chooses the Verona faculty which will lead her to specialize in journalism and immediately enter the world of work.
In Verona she meets Roberto, the angel who will always be by her side in happy and dark moments. Yes, because those moments arrive when you don’t expect. The desires and hopes of a 30-year-old woman stopped abruptly at the beginning of April 2019, but not her desire to live.
After a few months of suffering, misinterpreted as depression by some doctors too hasty and superficial in the diagnosis, on April 1st she was diagnosed with a large brain lesion in the left lobe which was fully removed with surgery at the Mestre hospital and on the nature of the disease the first words of doctors leave no way out: glioblastoma, 4th degree, the most aggressive brain tumour with the shortest life expectancy.
After the operation despite the bad news Giulia is reborn, she makes it clear to us after the first days of convalescence, the tumor mass had made her lose balance and lucidity, with the determination that has always distinguished her she recovers her energy, begins the treatments with the standard protocol that will last 12 months, a new dietary path accompanied by supplements and integrated oncological medicine products. She quits her job as an employee to open a VAT number and become her own entrepreneur.
The first months after the operation are exciting, Giulia is positive despite the chemo and radiotherapy cycles, she resumes driving, plans a trip to Japan, attends online courses, studies the logo of her business, goes out with her friends, makes brief travels to Italy with his Roberto, he spends Christmas skiing with us as if nothing had happened.
She is happy and above all hopeful. This gives us hope that perhaps a miracle is possible.
Visits to the magnetic resonance oncologist alternate every two months but in August 2020, the signs of recurrence appear and with those the nightmares resurface for what we have read and heard about Glioblastoma.
In November there are no doubts, the outbreaks of terrible and devious evil have reappeared but we do not let ourselves be discouraged, we contact other centers in Europe and in the States, thanks to the family who had hosted Giulia and who never made us lack support and love.

Giulia begins to show the first signs that unequivocally will lead her to a progressive debilitation in January 2021. The oncologists finish offering us the therapy making us understand that there is no hope for our daughter, the foreign centers are set aside because Giulia is losing her strength again. We then decide to entrust ourselves to palliative care and accompany Giulia in her last period of her life, surrounding her with all the love possible.
On April 7, 2021 Giulia leaves us physically but she stays with us for the teaching she gave us, for how she faced a terrible challenge that unfortunately at the end she lost, a real life lesson.