Sah – Survivor Interview

Sah – Survivor Interview

Today Sah is 49. He was diagnosed four years ago at the age of 45. His first symptoms he noticed he was having some unexplainable time periods when he would blank out. For example, he would be engaged in a conversation, and then he would zone out. He felt that it was happening more frequently and for longer periods. He thought that he was maybe having some form of a seizure. He remembered that he had a few family members who had various forms of brain deterioration issues which eventually lead to losing their mental faculties.  He was very concerned and immediately wondered if he was starting to experience the same. His wife was also worried, so she started doing some research and they immediately made a visit to their local hospital emergency room. His was feeling more anxious. He was fearful his symptoms were the beginning of him experiencing the same disease that took his uncle’s life.  He had a CT Scan. The doctor came in and informed Sah that there was a mass most likely a tumor.  As Sah laughingly relates his words were, “Thank God. It’s just a tumor, I am not losing my mind”.  The Doctor thought that was funny that Sah was joyous that he had a brain tumor, but for Sah it was a matter of perspective and he wasn’t losing his mind. But then he realized he has a tumor and needs to deal with that.

At the time of his diagnosis, the attending physician recommended Sah stay at the hospital for further testing and assessments.  A biopsy was done to collect some of the tumor tissue. The Biopsy results were difficult to assess whether it was a Glioblastoma or another type of tumor.  After he was released from the hospital, Sah and his wife did tons of research. They found some doctors who they felt had lots of clinical and surgical experience. After meeting those doctors, they were in turn introduced additional members of their team who were involved with extensive research studies with both USC and UCLA.  The results from his biopsy and his additional testing indicated that he had a Malignant Tumor which presented as connected to the membrane of his brain. The MRI indicated the location of his tumor was extremely close to critical mental functioning. The doctors were concerned that surgical removal could potentially cause deficits in some of his abilities. While he was concerned for himself, he saw this as an opportunity to help others with being a part of research.

He was admitted to the hospital with the expectation that the surgeons were going to remove the tumor tissue and do more studies on the specific type of tumor he had. He had no pain or difficulty healing from his surgery, which he thought was amazing.  He was recommended to have Chemo, but he decided that he wanted to hold off until he and his wife could do additional research. They wanted to pursue making changes to their lifestyle and diet and see if that would have an impact on his overall health, based on the research they were doing Sah decided he would not do any recommended treatment options So far, his scans have been good.  He has remained committed to losing his excess weight and changing his lifestyle in to possibly improve his life expectancy.  He believes that his diet has been helpful in his overall health improvement. He is feeling great. The seizures, which only last a second now, are being kept under control with an anti-seizure medication, Keppra. After all the surgeries, and additional tissue biopsy, he has been told that his tumor was an Oligodendroglioma.

Sah’s wife found Heart of The Brain (HOTB) because she feels strongly about supporting organizations who are trying to help others with similar brain cancer issues. When they found HOTB, they were shocked and impressed by the impact of HOTB supporters both financially and emotionally. In fact, he and his wife joined HOTB this past year for the Sole Fully Committed walk to raise funds and awareness for Brain Cancer research.

Sah believes that he is  in control to some extent of our health outcomes. At the time of his diagnosis and treatment, he felt that he must discipline himself for his own wellbeing and health. He believed that he must do what he can for himself not just depend on others to do it for him. Through this experience, he learned a lot about himself and felt that he grew up by learning how to take care of himself.  He became more self-aware and appreciative of his strength and found the good despite the adversity. Even just eating better and being more aware of what he puts into his body, he feels better and believes we “really are what we eat”. His brain is a lot sharper, he feels positive all the time. He looks out the window and sees the beauty, “Every day, I am just so thankful”.

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