You know how you never hear about a thing – until that thing is part of your life – and then you hear about that thing constantly?

Well, that’s me ‘n’ brain candy.

“What did you do yesterday?” I asked a friend this week.

“I went to the most amazing funeral,” she said. “The woman was only 33, but she was so cool and so loved.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. What did she die of?” I asked.

“Brain cancer.”


Tonight while at the park chucking balls for Arthur, I was talking to this woman chucking balls for her dog. Our talk naturally led to Candyland (I am half bald with stickers and marks all over my chest, conversation tends to go there).

“Oh, my sister-in-law and brother had brain cancer,” she said.

When I told her that in the beginning of this adventure I had been issued a certain and immediate death sentence, but then oncologists said I had a fighting chance, she was all up-in-arms.

“They told my sister-in-law she had nine months and she lived five years!” she positively bubbled. “And my brother was told he had a month and he lived three years before he did a potassium push (suicide).”

“Great,” I said. “See, doctors can be so negative!”

Great, I thought. Three years. Five years. My neck went wooden. My head ached. I cried all the way home.

So then, I finally researched the question that nobody dared ask, including myself.

What are my chances of survival? Or, in Wild West lingo, what is my “cure rate”?

Is Deirdre dying, or is she just a drama queen doing time in Candyland?

While we can safely say the answer is YES to both of those questions, here is what I found out with direct relevance to my cure (thanks to my brother Don and Jack for helping me find the answer).

The most recent data shows that 70% of adults with medulloblastoma have a five-year survival rate. This does not include factors in my favor (no metastasis at time of diagnosis, more modern treatment, favorable subtype), all of which lower my risks. And, it does not mean if I am in the 70% success rate, I am limited to only five more years on this Earth. That’s just how long they’ve tracked that group of survivors in the largest, most recent study.

Now we know.

Here’s to blasting the medulloblastoma!

Pictured above: That’s me in the cyclotron receiving radiation. Photo by paulanow.

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