Cheryl Boyles tells us her story below. In June 2000 I was 33 years old, working as a wildlife biologist in Oregon, married to a wonderful husband for 10 years, and the mother of two amazing sons that were 1 and 3 years old. I was loving life; then overnight my life changed. I began having headaches that felt like my skull was going to explode. An MRI showed my brain was hemorrhaging. I went into surgery and an acorn sized grade 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) brain tumor was removed. I was told I had less than a year to live.I quit my job, and focused on being a mother and fighting brain cancer. I went through radiation, but chose not to take chemotherapy. The chemo would only add 3 months to my life, but quality of life would be miserable.
I decided to take more of a natural “alternative” approach, trying to boost my own immune system. My good cells outnumbered my bad cancer cells! I started eating organic, following a low carbohydrate diet, exercising, simplifying life and nursing a positive attitude, taking acupuncture, many supplements, cannabis, some “off label” prescriptions (like Metformin), and most of all leaning on God for strength which feeds me with hope.
Over the 16 years fighting the terminal brain cancer, I’ve unfortunately was hit with six recurrences. The fact that I have survived is unbelievable. My doctors even say so. Most people with the GBM die with their first recurrence, which usually happens within the first few years. To fight my recurrences, I mostly focused on my alternative actions, but also continued with some of the standard treatments. I’ve been through six brain craniotomies, 6 week of conformation radiation, over 3 ½ years on the milder chemo called Temodar, and also what is called Gamma Knife radiation.
Taking this approach of combining many alternative and standard treatments, trying to hit the cancer from many angels, has become known at a “cocktail” approach. It seems to be working for me, not that I’m cured, but I’m still alive and loving life. Over the sixteen years I’ve had over 100 MRIs, and it’s great to say that my last MRI was clear, no seen GBM.I have become known in the “brain tumor world” as a long term survivor. Patients and caregivers from around the USA and around the world contact me wanting to know “How do you do it?” So I’ve put together a web page www.cherylbroyles-gbm.com, wrote a book called Life’s Mountains, and made some videos hoping to reach out and encourage others.
Now my husband and I have been married 26 years, growing stronger together. My two boys are now 17 and 20 years old, both wanting to become wildlife biologists like mom and dad. And over the years I’ve been blessed with many things. Seeing life anew, learning to be content regardless of circumstances, enduring through the challenges, and living life in the moment.