November 2019 Jesse Reid-Oliver
November 6, 2019
On October 4th, 2019 I was heading back home from my job in Unity like any other day. That was a stressful day at work, I remember, running up and down the hill trying to get some issues straightened out. But luckily those days make it even better because before you know it, you’re all done and get to head back home. My wife, daughter and I were heading over to my mother-in-law’s house with my sister-in-law. We had an amazing dinner, as always!
We played a game after called, “Bean Boozled”. We filmed ourselves eating every nasty jellybean you could think of. The faces we made say it all. Then eventually our little girl was getting tired and we placed her in her crib and she went right to sleep. Shortly after, Sam and I went to bed around 8:30 that night.
Things started to go very bad at 10:30 that night. My wife woke up out of a dead sleep, because I was having a grand mal seizure in bed. My muscles were contracting, I was shaking around in bed, and then I bit my tongue. Blood started to come out of my mouth and I was starting to gasp for air. As my wife was panicking and trying to help me, my mother-in-law called 911 and the Sherriff from Madison came first. Then the EMT came and got me to wake up from my seizure. I was then conscious enough to walk to the ambulance and was taken to Redington Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan.
Soon after I was placed into a bed, and I then started to have another grand mal seizure. This time it lasted a little longer than the first one. My memory at the time was very bad, because of the stress my brain was under due to the seizures. I couldn’t remember my wife’s name, my daughter’s name, or even my date of birth. I felt like my memory was wiped, and it definitely was upsetting to discover that I couldn’t remember anything. The doctor did a CT scan, but couldn’t find much. Then they did an MRI and found a large mass on the right frontal lobe of my brain. They thought it was a cyst, but didn’t want to take any chances and scheduled a second opinion in Scarborough.
The following day I was stable and was able to head back home. My wife and mother-in- law helped get the mattress out into the living room, while trying to help me get on it to lay down. My brain was still acting funny, even if I was conscious and was able to speak.
We went down to Scarborough to meet our neurosurgeon, Dr. Ecker. He pulled up my MRI that I had before I went to my appointment, but didn’t give encouraging news. He was very prompt, telling my wife and I that it was a brain tumor. Since we both at the time weren’t educated on brain tumors very well, we were in a state of shock. Dr. Ecker did a great job explaining what they are. He was very confident that he would be able to do a full resection of the tumor. That information definitely made us feel a lot better than when we got the news.
On October 12th, my wife, mother-in-law, and myself woke up around 3 in the morning to get ready and head down to Portland to get ready for my surgery. I got my gown and hat on, and was put into a bed. We were in the admitting room and talked for about 15 minutes before going into surgery. Then within minutes, they were asking me what I liked to do with my family. When I started to talk, I was out within seconds.
I stayed in rehab in Augusta, getting my cognitive skills and walking back in action again. The therapists were very pleased with how fast my recovery was. But soon after I started rehab, Sam and I got the pathology report results back. This was when we discovered that I had a malignant brain tumor and was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Sam and I had a hard time adjusting to the news as we were in my room. Things at the time were so fresh, and we had a hard time understanding what was happening and why it was happening.
Since then, I have completed my 6 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy, am in remission, and am back at work. I also completed my 6 months of increased chemo. I am forever grateful that I have another chance to be on this planet and will not take life for granted anymore. If you or a loved one has brain cancer or you’re on the sidelines cheering them on, remember that you will definitely push through and get through this. I’m a survivor.