Sophia’s Brain Cancer Story
All within a few days, a family’s life was turned upside down when Sophia was diagnosed with brain cancer.
GiveForward interviewed Sophia about her journey with cancer, and she wanted to be able to give hope and inspiration to others going through something similar.
“My name is Sophia Brestal. I am, above most things, a mother of 3 and wife. I’ve been a stay at home mother for most of my life and enjoyed ever moment of it. I’ve been active, healthy, and happy and never saw any of this coming.”
She talked about when it all began and how she received her diagnosis.
“One day, like every other, I was having a bit of vision problems. Now, not to say that my vision is anywhere near perfect, but I was having some fuzzy vision near the corner of one of my eyes. I passed it off as maybe some eye shadow had irritated my sight. A few hours later I was beginning to develop a headache that was getting persistently worse. I called my daughter, Katie, and explained what was going on. She urged me to go to an urgent care or ER since I rarely even had headaches. My husband took me to the ER where they observed me for a stroke. They stated I had indeed had a small stroke but there didn’t seem to be any significant damage, but they wanted to admit me just in case. The next day, while awaiting various scans and test, my family and I sat in my hospital bed, laughing and making light of the situation, talking about how bizarre it all was.
The next morning the world stopped. Time seized to exist.
The doctor came in and asked everyone but my husband to step out of the room. I saw my husband turn white. She told us I had not had a stroke, but I instead, had a brain tumor. Never did I think, I would wish I had had a stroke. But you asked me how I felt when I received the news and the truth is, I didn’t. I didn’t feel anything. It was all nothingness. I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream, I didn’t speak. I sat on that hospital bed watching my husband trying to keep it together, but feeling nothing but numb. To be honest, I didn’t feel a single thing until my daughter and grandson walked back into the room. The only thing I could think about was my children, and how I didn’t want to put them through any of this, through having to see their mother like this. I watched my mother come to her inevitable end with cancer, and this was something I would never want my children to see.
The next few days were a whirlwind of tests, scans, biopsy’s, and transfers to various hospitals. As we waited for the biopsy results, my doctor gave me 3 cancers he believed the tumor would fall under. A lymphoma, which he hoped it was, another which I cannot remember the name which he didn’t want it to be, but would still be very treatable, and a 3rd, a glioblastoma, which he under no circumstances wanted it to be. Five days later I was diagnosed with a Stage 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme. Somewhere deep down, I knew it would be the Glioblastoma, but other than my quickly decreasing vision, I felt fine. Within the next few days, my brain surgery was scheduled, and treatment plan was developed. My brain surgery took 8 hours and I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck. By the next day, I was listening to Barry White in the ICU with my husband, laughing and telling each other corny jokes.
I felt great, I felt alive, and right then I knew, that this THING was not going to win. I was going to fight with every ounce of my being and get to watch my youngest son get married and see my grandson grown up. I was going to grow old with my husband on the house on the lake just like we always said we would.” She dreams of her future and won’t let cancer get in the way of that!
It might seem hard to get through the days, but always remember about all those that care for you and are rooting for you. If she could say one thing to someone going through any sort of cancer, she would tell them, “You cannot stop the fight, you have to consciously fight every minute of every day and never stop. You’re going to cry, you’re going to scream, you’re going to want to just surrender, but you can’t. You are greater than this, you have made it through every bad day you’ve ever had so far, and that, is a pretty damned good track record.”
“Now currently, nearly done with my first, and hopefully final round of chemo and radiation, cancer has a funny way of putting life into perspective. Every weekend is spend with family, eating around the dinner table, laughing until our cheeks hurt. My family has been my greatest support during this difficult time. My mother in law flew in from Florida to help care for my family and I, my daughter has filed every bit of paper work, and everyone has pitched in. I’m so appreciative for people who have donated to my give forward and everyone who has prayed for my family and I. I am so grateful for the wonderful friends of ours who have come to visit and dropped off meals at our home.” Her community of support has been incredibly important to her. Her family, friends, and loved ones are always there to step up and take care of the things that need to be done.
Though her journey has been bitter, it has also been sweet. “Life is funny, and mean, and crazy, but to be perfectly honest, there is a lot that I may have never noticed had I not gotten cancer. My days no longer feel like a given, but a gift, and I’ve realized to slow down and take a look at the important things in my life. All I want now, is more time and a bit more vision back. So, I will keep fighting, and keep living, just the way I am suppose to!”