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Operating on the front lines of medicine, doctors and nurses are often responsible for delivering news to patients that can change the course of their lives — “you have a terminal illness.” Many health care professionals approach this daunting challenge by providing patients with extensive medical treatment in combination with support resources or various pieces of advice, one being to remain optimistic and hopeful.

But when the tables turned on Kim, a registered nurse, and she was diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM), she was forced to take her own advice.

GBM is an aggressive and deadly brain cancer, with approximately 13,000 people diagnosed per year.[i] After diagnosis, most patients survive for less than two years.[i] With unnerving statistics like this, Kim knew that GBM was not a “wait and see disease,” and so began her tenacious fight for more time.

For Kim, it all started with a headache. Given her work schedule that included night shifts, this did not initially seem like a cause for concern. But when the pain became debilitating, Kim was rushed to the hospital, which led to her diagnosis and her new reality.

Everything happened quickly from there.

With her experience as a nurse, she understood what her diagnosis of a grade 4 brain tumor could mean for her future — less time with her husband of 30 years and her three sons, the biggest blessings of her life, and missing important milestones like graduations, weddings, and more. Kim experienced a wave of emotions — initially denial, then panic, but ultimately, she ended in positivity.

“There were many times I’d encountered patients in their toughest moments. Moments when all hope seemed lost. I would always tell them, ‘attitude is everything,’” Kim stated. “When I was diagnosed and faced this same feeling of hopelessness, I knew that just like I told my patients, ‘A positive attitude means so much. There is hope.’”

Her background as a nurse gave her an understanding of the importance of being aggressive through this treatment, and instilled a willingness to try all proven available options. She internalized the persistence and optimism that she encouraged in her own patients. With this in mind, Kim acted fast on treatment, fighting her GBM head on.

Kim has set aside her nursing scrubs and today spends her days cooking, gardening, and caring for her chickens and horses. She is enjoying life and spending time with family, filling each day with the people she loves and the things she loves to do. Not only can patients find inspiration in Kim’s story, but health care providers of all specialties can, too.

“I refuse to sit down and give up, because there is always hope.”

To learn more about GBM and an available treatment option, please visit Novocure’s site.

[i] Quinn T Ostrom, Gino Cioffi, Haley Gittleman, Nirav Patil, Kristin Waite, Carol Kruchko, Jill S Barnholtz-Sloan, CBTRUS Statistical Report: Primary Brain and Other Central Nervous System Tumors Diagnosed in the United States in 2012–2016, Neuro-Oncology, Volume 21, Issue Supplement_5, October 2019, Pages v1–v100,


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