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Getting through Brain Cancer with the Right People around You

David Reyes Sitting Together With His Family

David Reyes began noticing his motor skills declining when it became harder to write with his right hand. First thinking it was a nerve issue, he let time pass before going to the doctor. That’s when the headaches started.

"I took ibuprofen and Tylenol to bring the pain down, but it later stopped working. I started drinking Red Bull by the case," says David. "The only thing that would help at that point was caffeine."

On the day of David’s appointment with a specialist, he had already downed three cans of Red Bull by ten in the morning to help ease his headache. The pain was too intense, so instead, he went straight to the hospital.

"When I got to the emergency room, I was in so much pain that when the nurse asked me how bad it hurt from one to ten, I remember saying twenty," David says. "I couldn’t even open my eyes or walk."

After a CT scan and MRI, the doctors found a tumor the size of a lime pushing into David’s cerebellum, which is part of the brain that controls your balance and coordination. David underwent surgery, where doctors were able to take out about 35% of the tumor. A portion was sent to the lab for a biopsy.

"When the labs came back, I was told it was a type of brain cancer called a medulloblastoma and it was stage IV," says David. "Medulloblastomas are more common in kids, so the doctors didn’t have a specific protocol they would normally follow for adults. They decided to start with heavy radiation doses and then do chemo."

David says that cancer is not just a sickness, "it’s something that affects you in the deepest way. I’ll never be able to surf again, or do certain things, but I am alive. Your confidence gets shaken, but if you have the right people around you, you’ll be fine. I have my faith, my beautiful, loving wife, my kids, my family, great friends, and my Qualtrics coworkers who are right behind me."

David remembers being sick through radiation, but in getting ready for chemotherapy, the MRI found no evidence of the tumor.

"The radiation eliminated everything and I didn’t have to do chemotherapy," says David. "I’m thankful for this miracle, but so are my family that I went to Huntsman Cancer Institute. They saved my life."

David’s cancer is now in remission, and he’s optimistic for the future.

"I wouldn’t say I’m back 100%, but I would say that I’m at 70% and I’m alive. I walk, I work, I take care of my family, and it’s great," he smiles.

Cancer touches all of us.