Editor's note: The following article was written by Arden Tellini Hofler, event manager for the Seattle Brain Cancer Walk.
Edmonds resident Monica Ledgett thought she had overdone it.
Her father-in-law challenged her to a race around a five mile lake in Longview. She had just had a baby, but wanted to prove she was still in shape, so she took the challenge.
Later that day, she says she felt very strange. “It’s like someone sucked my brain with a vacuum,” she says, describing the absent feeling in her head.
Still, the diagnosis unexpected. When Monica saw a doctor at Swedish Hospital a few days later she was told she had an oligodendroglioma, a slowly growing, large, and well-defined cerebral glioma, composed of small cells.
It was devastating news. Her daughter, Ali, was only 3 months old and her husband was training, out of state, with the Army National Guard preparing for deployment to Iraq.
“I was numb. I didn’t know how to take the news,” said Monica of her diagnosis.
Surgery and chemotherapy followed and Monica hoped she was on the road to recovery. Eventually, though, the tumor grew back. This time she was given a more powerful dose of chemotherapy that lasted an entire year. She was very sick, but the treatment worked, and now Monica has survived two battles with brain cancer.
She will take that battle to Seattle Center on Saturday, where she, her husband and daughter will take part in their first Seattle Brain Cancer Walk to help raise money to find a cure.
“I am excited to talk with other patients and survivors to create a support system in the community.”
Monica still has regular MRIs and monitors her health carefully. She is grateful for her survival which means time with her family, including Ali, who is now 4 years old.
For more information on the Seattle Brain Cancer Walk, go to www.braincancerwalk.org.