Share. Connect. Love.

Posted 2019-11-10T18:35:28Z

November 2019

Dear Friends,

Last August marked a year since I was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme. The daily effects of my “out of the blue” condition continue to mount, and as you might expect, there are often more questions than answers. I know that many of you want to know how I am, and as a start, here is something written by friends after they visited me in Maine at the end of June.[...]

Posted 2019-03-15T15:43:07Z

Again, MRI brings favorable news!

Dear family and friends,

On Monday this week I had another MRI, and the next day I met with my Neuro-Oncologist to hear her assessment. Good news! She said the images indicate that the tumor is unchanged again versus the last MRI. She reminded me that the 6 weeks of radiation last fall would give the indication of growth/change (called pseudo-progression, a known side effect of radiation) but after a couple months with no change she can conclude it isn’t actual growth. So that’s where I am, and I have to say it feels great to share this good news with you.[...]

Posted 2019-02-13T02:30:10Z

Good news on a winter's day!

Dear Friends,

Here's a happy update while you, most likely, are being pummeled by rain, sleet or snow. I hope your basement is dry, you are warm and cozy wherever you are, and you're not behind the wheel of a car! The weather channel has given more than I want to know about outside conditions.[...]

Posted 2018-10-08T21:52:03Z

Starting Week Five

Dear Friends,
 
Four weeks of radiation + chemo are done, with only two weeks to go. The finish line for phase one of treatment is in sight – three cheers for that.
 
Here’s what I’ve been going through for the radiation, which I get 5 days a week. The medical team puts a custom-molded plastic helmet (see photo) over my head and snaps it (and me) in place on a stretcher, and then a linear accelerator slowly rotates around my head for 5 minutes or so, sending radiation is a pre-set pattern at the tumor. John, with his usual whimsy, dubbed the machine Sparky. Even bad humor is appreciated these days. Each day I have a silent chat with Sparky and ask for highly effective cancer cell zapping. No harm to ask!
 
The daily chemo pills (Temodar) are nasty. But, Glioblastoma is nasty and you fight toxic with toxic. I’m fortunate the side effects have not been brutal. I’m not nauseous and I can sleep.  It was distressing to lose a few chunks of hair last week, but the patches aren’t huge and mostly are under other hair. I won’t have to shave my head – not yet, anyway.
 
Another milestone last week was the ok to have a glass of wine with dinner. I’ve been vino-free since the seizures August 12, and it’s nice to reintroduce this social luxury. My neuro-radiation specialist likened this tumor to a small terrorist inside my head. Fight it hard and smart, but the rascal doesn’t get to rule every part of my life. I’m on-board with that.
 
I’ve spent lots of time with family and friends the past 4 weeks. The sound of a clock ticking loudly accompanies GBM, and I’m reminded that the people I love are truly the center of my universe. I am deeply grateful for that bounty. Thank you again, my friends, for your love, prayers and support. Those prayers, and each of you, mean the world to me.
 
Love,
Beth
 
P.S. On a sad note, John and I had to put our dear old dog Addie to sleep a couple weeks after my surgery. She had stopped drinking, eating and would not move. At 14 years old, her time had come. She’s still my fur-ever friend and the best dog ever. The day before we put her down, she was sleeping with her soft muzzle resting on my bare foot. I said to myself, remember this feeling…[...]

Posted 2018-08-30T21:37:52Z

August 30, 2018 Post

On Monday August 27th, we -- Beth and her devoted team of husband John Foster, son Andrew McNay, son Stu McNay and his wife Tanya Tran McNay, sister Dorrit Castle and Dorrit’s husband Tom, and close friend Dr. Julie Levison – such an amazing group! -- met at Mass General Hospital with Beth’s Neuro-Oncology and Neuro-Radiation specialists. Also present in spirit were all of you, dear friends and extended family. The day was grueling and I could not have done it without my incredible team, near and far.[...]

Posted 2018-08-22T00:08:56Z

The Summer Day, by Mary Oliver

I first heard this poem about 15 years ago. Read, and you'll agree the words never grow stale. xoxo

The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
—Mary Oliver[...]