Had it not been for the persistence of a co-worker, Jeremy Paterno might be living a different journey.
It was the first Tuesday in 2020 when Jeremy Paterno, a photographer at Mayo Clinic in Florida, began noticing some small oddities.
“That day, I had a couple flighty moments where my right hand was off, like when I got in the car, but I missed the ignition when trying to insert the key,” says Jeremy, a father of two girls, who has worked on the Florida campus since August 2011.
His symptoms persisted for the next two days. “I thought it might be vertigo because my spatial awareness was off. Jeremy recalls that he would reach for something and get off by a few inches.
At the suggestion of a colleague, he set up a lunchtime visit with his primary physician. Jeremy was in an MRI tube that weekend. He was in an MRI tube the next Tuesday and was going through brain Surgery ..
Doctors discovered a large, golf ball-sized tumor in Jeremy’s brain. Almost overnight he became one of the 240,000 people worldwide diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive type of brain cancer.
As Jeremy began chemotherapy and radiation, he continued to work, though at home as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
He received positive news from his six-month scan. The family was excited to celebrate the holidays with him. Glioblastomas can be stubborn.
Just before Christmas, Jeremey had a seizure. The tumor had grown back. The tumor grew despite more chemotherapy. Jeremy underwent an awake craniotomy in March 2021. He also enrolled in a clinical trial but, unfortunately, the tumor continued to persist.
Side effects of the medication brought additional challenges. They made it difficult for Jeremy to speak and made it difficult for him to spend time with his family.
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