When Audra Popp was diagnosed with cancer, she was determined to fight. And despite six recurrences of her brain tumor over the years, she continued to fight and keep a positive attitude. She first underwent radiation therapy for her rare type of brain tumor, called an Anaplastic Pleomorphic Xanthoastrocytoma, in 2007. She stayed at a Hope Lodge for six weeks in Rochester, MN while she received treatment at Mayo Clinic. She returned to the Hope Lodge again in 2015 to undergo proton beam radiation therapy, and again in 2017 for more treatment. She underwent a surgery to remove her tumor, and the results were a “miracle”, according to her surgeons. There were no significant blood vessels supplying the tumor and it was able to be removed. She received support from her husband and the Hope Lodge community throughout her treatment process and believes that having a support system is important in order to maintain a positive attitude.
I just have a lot of hope. I feel in general like I have a very positive attitude. My mantra is “with hope all things are possible” and here at the Hope Lodge I’ll pass out little notes that say “hope” on them. I say, “God made the rocks but I just added the hope.” I just think networking with other people has been really good. Otherwise, even though I have cancer, I feel pretty fortunate that I’ve had cancer –it’s my story and it’s still a pretty cool story.
Coming to a support group –I think you can get a lot of information networking with people who have already gone down the path that you’re about to go down. Cancer education centers, the American Cancer society is really great. They have a 1-800 number even if you need to call someone to talk to someone at 3 AM they will be there to answer the phone.
I think cancer is really kind of a –everyone always looks at it and thinks it’s just terrible but I’ve said before it’s like a big door shutting on you that locks behind you and you can’t ever go back. Once you have cancer you kind of always have cancer –on your chart anyway. But what it does, it opens up lots of other doors for you. Some doors are scary to go through –might be ‘Oh, I’m having an MRI today, what are the results going to be?’. Others might be that you’re going to come to a support group like this.
Pat Lacey Urbana, Illinois
Richard McKinney Hillsboro, OR