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  • Writer's pictureJoy Slaughter

11.1 Brain Cancer Under the Radar


When Todd attacks Megan, Nathan defends her by punching Todd with enough force to require surgery. In the imaging prior to pre-op, it is discovered that he has a brain tumor, a ganglioglioma. These tumors, found in both children and adults, are usually small and non-cancerous; however, depending on where they are located in the brain, they can cause a wide array of symptoms.

The reader has seen these symptoms building through the book, but in such a way that it is easy to disregard or chalk up to other reasons: he opens two cans of beer for himself instead of one, angry outbursts, violence against friends/family, poor work performance, poor memory, sluggishness, stumbling, personality changes, balance control problems, and more. He had been tested for drugs and alcohol and always came up clean.

Not all brain tumors progress in this way, but some can and do.

Glioblastoma multiforme is the most common malignant brain tumor in adults. It is always fatal, and the course of illness is relatively short (12-18 months for most). Just like the tumor Todd had, the symptoms depend upon where in the brain it is located. The most common symptoms of GBM are loss of appetite, nausea/vomiting, loss of balance, mood swings, difficulty with memory/concentration/speaking, seizures, impaired vision. The important takeaway of this is that if you are experiencing symptoms that don’t seem normal, talk to your doctor.

Long after I had written "Crossing the Line," my best friend’s husband died of glioblastoma multiforme as did President Biden’s son, Beau, Ted Kennedy, and John McCain. Finding a cure will be an important milestone for humanity.

To donate to the Glioblastoma Foundation, click here:


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