Living for the moment

Brain cancer patient takes life one day at a time
Image by Shawn Hayward.

 

Story

Michelle Doré has a message for anyone who starts noticing changes in mood or temperament:

“Even if they don't have physical changes, they must contact their doctor,” she says. “First a general doctor, to get a reference to a neurologist for a total evaluation.”

Doré’s family were the first to notice something wasn’t right with her. She began to become apathetic and unbalanced, to the point where her mother thought she was drunk.

Eventually Doré stopped answering her phone or answering the door. Her sister called a friend who went see Doré. When she did not answer the door, he was so worried that he threatened to call the police if she didn’t let him in.

“I thought, ‘What's his problem?’ So I opened the door and I was laughing. He called the ambulance and they brought me at the hospital and did a few tests. Then they sent me to another hospital for more tests. There I had an MRI and they found that I had a big tumour on the right side, frontal lobe.”

Doré had surgery to remove to tumour, but she was still not herself. They did more tests to reveal she had another tumour, this one on the left side of her brain.

“I told my family that I didn't want to be treated if I have cancer,” she says. “I have a lot of family members and friends who had very weird reactions to the treatments and to the chemotherapy, to the radiotherapy, to the protocols, to everything.”

But then her daughter convinced her to keep fighting; she was getting married that July, and wanted her mother to be there.

“I said OK. I went to radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery here in Montreal. They then sent me to a re-adaptation centre. I was there for a few weeks. Suddenly I started to have big headaches. They found out that I had fluid building in my brain.”

That meant yet another surgery to remove the fluid, but Doré was there for her daughter’s wedding. The treatment has bought her a few more years.

Doré says she is grateful for the extra time she has received under the care of Dr. Scott Owen and Dr. Kevin Petrecca at The Neuro.

“I'm not thinking about three or four years,” she says. “I'm thinking about today. Next week if possible, but this week. Let's concentrate on this week. Next week we will see.”

Video transcript

I was sent to the hospital because my sister called me and she took notes for an hour. She saw right away that I was not normal.

And there I had an MRI done and they found out that I had a big tumour on the right side, frontal lobe.

They got me a surgery, I think the day after. Two weeks after, I was still not normal.

They made other tests and they found out that I had the same tumour but on the left side. I told my family that I didn't want to be treated if I have a cancer. I have a lot of family members and friends who had very weird reactions
to the treatments and to the chemotherapy, to the radiotherapy, to the protocols, to everything.

I told my family I don't want it. I want to be cremated and that's it. My daughter came and she said "I'm getting married in July." And we were at the beginning of May. So she said, "Do you want to be treated? At least for my wedding."

Okay. I said, okay. They sent me to a re-adaptation centre. And I was there for a few weeks.

Suddenly I started to have big headaches. So they send me back here, to The Neuro. They found out that I had fluid building in my brain.

So finally I never walked my daughter down the altar because I was in a wheelchair.

I was, 10 days before the wedding I fell between the wheelchair and a cab. I was going on chemotherapy and I fell and ripped open my knee. So I had stitches. It was not big, but it was deep.

So I had a couple of stitches there. My daughter pushed me to the aisle. But I was there!

You know, I'm not thinking about three or four years. I'm thinking about today. And next week if possible. But this week. Let's concentrate for this week.

Next week we will see.

 

 

 

 

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The Neuro is a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.

 

 

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