May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month – a time to celebrate survivors, practitioners, caregivers and supporters as we strive to find a cure for brain cancer. My friend and colleague, Debbie Duffy, wrote the following post in honor of her friend Billy Howland and family of Thornton, NH. Debbie encourages all of us to Go Gray in May and Head for a Cure.
By Debbie Duffy
In October, 2017 my friend, Billy Howland, suffered a severe seizure while shopping with his wife and children at Walmart in Plymouth, NH. He was transported by ambulance to Dartmouth Hitchcock where doctors discovered Billy had a brain tumor.
Billy’s tumor is slow growing, so the Howlands decided to postpone Billy’s surgery until after their baby was born. This would give doctors time to get Billy’s seizures under control.
On November 8, 2017, Rawley Howland was born and became a little brother to siblings Rocco, Rexford and Rosalie.
On December 8, 2017, Billy underwent an 8-hour surgery at DHMC. Surgeons removed 90% of Billy’s tumor and closed up the incision with 34 staples. Billy now has regular check-ups to make sure the 10% left behind is stabilized and not growing. For now, no radiation or chemotherapy treatments are required, but that may change at a future date.
Post-surgery, Billy, his wife, Troya, and the four children (all under the age of five) are enjoying life to the best of their ability. Billy has been seizure free for six months and will be able to drive again soon. That’s great news to the family that’s been struggling with even trying to get to the grocery store or a medical appointment. Friends and family have poured out their love by stepping in to help along the way. Their faith has also given them the strength to get through these past few months.
Go Gray in May means much more to me as I’ve watched the Howlands rise above the challenge and meet this medical crisis head on. Please show your support of this family and the need for brain cancer awareness by making a donation to the National Brain Tumor Society. The Howlands suggest that you can also help by offering encouragement to someone in need. The Howlands are so thankful for all the folks who helped them and would like to pay it forward.