A caregiver’s role after diagnosis
Fourteen words changed Kathy Oliver’s life.
Her son, Colin, was a healthy 24-year-old who started getting double vision and headaches that wouldn’t go away. Something wasn’t right. After several misdiagnoses, and finally an MRI, the devastating cause of the symptoms was discovered.
“I’m so very sorry to tell you that your son has a brain tumor,” a neurosurgeon told Kathy Oliver and her husband Gordon. "Colin needs immediate surgery."
And with that one sentence, life changed forever for the Oliver family.
They were suddenly transported to a strange new universe where they didn’t speak the language of medicine or know anything about brain tumors. But, little by little, they learned it.
Kathy Oliver investigated brain tumor therapies. She joined a support group and researched clinical trials and medicine development. She became an expert patient advocate. Colin Oliver survived for seven-and-a-half years, heroically coping with three neurosurgeries and years of treatment for his brain tumor and its associated epilepsy.
Today, as one of the founders and the current chair of the International Brain Tumour Alliance (IBTA), Kathy Oliver reflects on those first few days after her son’s diagnosis and offers insight to caregivers adapting to the new reality of their family’s brain tumor journey.