Strength of a Father: Dad Survives Terminal Brain Cancer With New Therapy and Family Support
Father's Day weekend is here, but some families deserve to be a little more appreciative of the dads in their lives.
Father’s Day weekend is upon us and every family, with their own unique set of values and unique history, will be spending Dad’s big day in a number of special ways.
For some families, Father’s Day is just another day. Sure, we give a little more attention to Dad and we thank him for all of his hard work and effort, but then the day passes and it’s back to a regular schedule. While we’d love for Father’s Day to be every day of the year, it’s just once a year and we have to make the most of it.
For Lea Grover, her three kids, and her husband, Father’s Day is a little more than just appreciating dad. It’s a day in which they’re truly thankful that they can share the day with Dad–then again they’re thankful for that luxury everyday of the year.
Grover’s husband was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a radical form of brain cancer, nine years ago. In fact, he was diagnosed before they were married. He had initially not wanted to subject his then fiancee to his struggles. “He seemed to ask how I could marry him, knowing in less than a year, he’d be gone,” Grover recalls. “I told him he wasn’t going anywhere.”
Nine years, and three kids later, the courageous and strong father has survived the terminal illness with the love and support from his family, and a wide variety of treatments and therapy. Grover’s husband has found success in beating the illness through a new form of treatment called an Optune. In Grover’s words, it’s “a backpack that kills brain cancer.”
“It’s a device he wears on his head that bombards his brain with electrical currents set to the frequency of the cellular mitosis of his tumour cells. My husband wears a set of transducer arrays in stickers on his scalp. He carries a machine and battery pack that power the transducers. Where the beams of electrical currents meet, tumour cells are ripped apart. It’s not chemo, it’s more like science fiction,” she explains.
His daughters needed to adjust to their dad’s unusual new look nowadays. As time progressed and they saw how helpful the treatment was for their father, they came to love it. Grover claims that “When the children draw family pictures, they always feature Daddy’s backpack.” And, they’ve even grown so accustomed to him wearing the technology on his head, when he removes it, his kids comment: “You look funny without your device, Daddy.” Grover says it took the family some time to adjust to the strange form of treatment. However, they eventually welcomed it with open arms. “Just as we got used to waiting for death, we have gotten used to this.”
When her husband was first diagnosed with brain cancer, the couple trembled in fear at the shockingly low survival rates. At the time of his diagnosis, the rate was 1 to 2 percent over five years. In spite of this incredibly low rate, love and courage helped the Grovers to fight the odds and start a loving family.
The ups and downs of fatherhood are why we celebrate Father’s Day. No matter what your family’s story is, every dad has faced adversity to provide for his family. The Grover’s struggles are certainly more severe than most, but knowing that the love and support of his family has helped him to reach a point of stability in his cancer inspires men everywhere to be the best father they can be.
Grover understands that her husband will never have the chance to take a break from his battle with cancer. She admits, “My husband might live with this device on his head for the rest of his life, but the rest of his life is not the agonising blink it once threatened to be. He might wear it to our daughters’ weddings. To our 50th anniversary. He might be as fortunate as any of us to die of the perils of old age.”
The fight for his life will never remain dormant, but with the help of this new treatment and the love and support of his family, Grover’s husband marches onward with the bravery and strength only a father could have.
Every father deserves a pat on the back this weekend, but dads (and their families) like this need to be acknowledged and admired! We wish the Grovers nothing but the best and that the Dad in their life lives to see many more Father’s Days.
You can read more about Lea Grover’s unique story about her husband’s fight, their marriage, and their family life by reading this post that was published to Cosmopolitan.