In June of 2005 Lisa graduated from college in four years and was looking forward to beginning a new life and new career. Six months later everything came crashing down. On December 27th, 2005, Lisa was diagnosed with a brain tumor – a Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma in the left thalamus area of the brain; a condition her doctor deemed in-operable. Her initial diagnosis and recovery involved many different medical facilities and doctors. Her nearly eight year journey was very complicated and emotional with many ups and downs.
Initially she was treated with 36 rounds of radiation along with chemo therapy. In December 2006 Lisa developed infections (abscesses) from the radiation. We met with her surgeon and he said he could try to remove or relieve the abscess but they would just come back. We left his office not knowing what we should do next. The path Lisa went down resulted with a terminal diagnosis after a year of radiation and chemotherapy.
Choosing the right path is critical. Only through prayer and a large amount of luck were we able to find a neurosurgeon at another institution that was willing and able to remove her tumor, although he would have preferred to do this procedure without any prior radiation. We thank God every day we found this incredible surgeon that gave us HOPE and another six wonderful years with our daughter.
We met Dellann Elliott a few years back and shared our story. Her husband, Chris Elliott, and Lisa’s situations were very similar. They both had the same local neurosurgeon and oncologist. Like Dellann, we truly believe that it is the absolute moral and ethical responsibility of all medical professionals to discuss all the treatment options, regardless where these treatments are available.
In hindsight, we only wish we had known about the Chris Elliott Fund when Lisa was first diagnosed. Among their many free services, Chis Elliott Fund is a portal for information about current procedures and the facilities performing them.
With more information we may not have chosen intense radiation and chemotherapy as a beginning treatment.
With more information Lisa may not have developed the resulting “Radiation Necrosis” (dead brain tissue).
With more information we may have found Dr. Meyer sooner and discovered the wonderful work he was doing at the MAYO Clinic.
With more information she may have been with us longer.
Unfortunately, we will never know.
Finding the resources to help you make these important decisions can truly make a difference in your choices of treatment. For this reason the Patnode Family supports the Chris Elliott Fund and welcomes your donations in Lisa’s memory to this important group. This non-profit organization provides national brain tumor patient support and exists to End Brain Cancer through education, awareness, advocacy and research.
The Chris Elliott Fund offers all services free of charge and provides a unique and unparalleled concierge style service for each brain tumor patient and their caregivers. The organization was established to ensure that anyone who is diagnosed with a brain tumor has access to educational materials and advanced medical treatments, patient support, and resources that improve the quality of life for patients.