Lorraine's Story of Strength

Lorraine's Story of Strength

“I have what I have, and now I just gotta be positive.”

“His whole attitude this whole time has been: ‘It is what it is. I gotta deal with it,’” says Lorraine Pinchbeck, mother of 48-year-old Mike – a former mechanic who was born and raised in Vancouver and is a survivor of a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumour. .

In mid-2012, Mike suffered from a few easily overlooked symptoms like headaches and loss of balance. When doctors suggested it could be caused by vertigo, nobody thought much of it. Soon after, Mike’s condition began to deteriorate until he could not function at work to his full capacity.

While at work on September 20, 2012, Mike had to climb a ladder and suddenly stumbled from a loss of balance. Because of this, his boss sent him home to rest.

The next morning, his parents noticed even more alarming symptoms like slurring speech and severe loss of balance, and they took him to the emergency room.

At the hospital, Mike and the rest of the Pinchbeck family heard the words from the doctor that would change their lives forever: “There’s a rather large tumour here and it looks like it’s not a good one.”

“We were stunned by the diagnosis,” Lorraine explains. Mike however, upon hearing the news, was positive and took every treatment, medication, and struggle with purpose. “I have what I have and now I just gotta be positive,” Mike says.

Later that day, because the doctor felt the tumour was pressing so much on Mike’s brain and he did not want Mike lying down for another night, surgery was the immediate plan of action.

The family was thrilled when Mike came through the surgery, a month of radiation, and six months of chemotherapy with flying colours. On his road to recovery, he has not suffered from severe side effects or additional complications. Most importantly, though, Mike then began to take his health into his own hands and developed a plan to seek a better life post-brain tumour. He quit smoking and has not smoked a day since his diagnosis that September 21, 2012 afternoon.

“The thing we’ve said the most is how proud we are of him that he’s quit smoking,” Lorraine adds. “He’s a changed person. It’s like he’s been given a new chance to do what he likes and wants to do now.”

The Pinchbecks were introduced to Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada when they received a copy of the Adult Brain Tumour Handbook from their treatment centre in Vancouver. As a part of giving back to the community and inspiring other families going through similar battles, they also ran in the 2013 Vancouver Spring Sprint (now Brain Tumour Walk) as a family.

Although Mike is still building up the strength and energy to get back to work, he and the rest of his loved ones hope to use their experience to inspire others to seek support, cherish every moment you have, and never become discouraged. Lorraine says, “Seeking more options, staying positive, and being uplifted with hope is essential.” She also says that her son’s dedication to becoming a newer and better person through the battle with a brain tumour is inspiring. It has even given her a renewed sense of strength about life.

“Always stay really positive. The support of all your friends and family are so, so important,” Lorraine said. “Appreciate and love every day that you have.”

 Thank you Lorraine for sharing your story.

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<back to Brain Tumour Awareness Month

 Story posted: October 2013. Since then, Brain Tumour Awareness Month has moved to May.

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