Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is Glioblastoma?
A: The Mayo Clinic has a thorough definition complete with symptoms and treatment:
The Glioblastoma Foundation is also a wonderful resource for more information:
Q: What were some of your symptoms?
A: Jim had been experiencing persistent sinus issues, increasingly intense headaches, and spells of dizziness for weeks. Some more acute symptoms closer to diagnosis were impaired spatial awareness and frequently bumping into objects.
Q: What is the life expectancy for those with Glioblastoma?
A: According to the Glioblastoma Foundation website the median survival of a person diagnosed with glioblastoma is about 15 months. For those that forego treatment it is a mere 3-6 months.
Personally, I was told by my surgeon anywhere from 9 to 15 months. His words have been verified by many people who have lost loved ones shortly after diagnosis. Most recently a man told me about his brother who died at age 51, just 8 months after being Diagnosed.
A young lady who lost her father in January after he was diagnosed the previous July (6 months). He was 67; the same age I was first diagnosed. Another acquaintance’s father lived for a year after his tumor was surgically removed. He died in hospice after refusing to have another surgery followed by therapy.
The National Brain Tumor society states that the five-year glioblastoma survival rate is 6.8%.
Q: What is Chemotherapy and Radiation therapy?
A: Mayo clinic has in-depth descriptions of both types of treatments.
Learn more about chemotherapy here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/chemotherapy/about/pac-20385033
Learn more about radiation therapy here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/radiation-therapy/about/pac-20385162
For my personal experience and side effects with both types of treatment continue reading the next question.
Q: What are some of the side effects of treatment?
A: Surgery: you may have some visible scars or places where the scalp and skull are slightly raised or indented in areas not covered by hair.
There can also be complications. The MRI taken shortly after my second surgery, that removed about one-half an inch of tumor regrowth, indicated that my brain was surrounded by brain fluid that was putting pressure on my brain. When the fluid did not dissipate on its own, my brain surgeon had to insert a shunt in my skull to drain the excess fluid through a plastic tube into my abdomen where it would be absorbed. A second surgical team was needed to insert and guide the tube by placing small cameras in my abdomen during the procedure, so they did not injure any organs. I still have two small scars where they inserted the cameras. I now tell kids that I have three bellybuttons.
Even if there are no complications, you are likely to be put on an antibiotic to guard against infections.
Radiation: I was told that radiation could produce scarring which would increase the possibility of seizures and strokes. I experienced a seizure on October 13, 2021 and a stroke on January 27, 2022. I was told that both were the result of scarring left by radiation. When another spot was identified, further in my brain in April 2022, further radiation was ruled out as it would be problematic. I was only treated with chemotherapy for 6 months until MRIs were clear of malignant regrowth.
Chemotherapy: it reduces the immune system making the patient more vulnerable to illness and infection. It also increases fatigue which may limit the number of activities you once enjoyed and the quality of life in general.
Rest? Who needs it? I have too much to accomplish for God! Do those words sound familiar? Have you ever said them to yourself or others? Jim Anderson lived the same lifestyle that a majority of Christians, especially pastors, often follow. He tried to be all things to all people while striving to do more at the expense of his health, personal relationships, and his walk with God.
After serving as a pastor for 25 years, Jim Anderson wanted to help other pastors thrive as they serve local churches. Knowing that pastors often experience burnout from personal and ministry fatigue, he wrote the book For God’s Sake Rest! Since he also knew how lonely pastors often feel even while surrounded by the people they serve, Jim has now written the book The Seven Essential Powers of Friendship: A Path to Authentic Relationships.