Skip to content

‘Glioblastoma is a beast’: Clearwater couple share their story

Kimberly and Travis Tucker have an inspiring love story in spite of Glioblastoma cancer
Travis Tucker from Clearwater was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, and it has been a journey for both him and his wife Kim, who says ‘We try our best to keep gratitude in our hearts and find some joy in every day. We try not to let worry about yesterdays and tomorrows stop us from enjoying our todays.’ (Photo by: Kimberly Tucker)

By Kimberly Tucker

“What? Why are you home so early? What are you talking about? What is wrong with you?”

These are just a few of the questions I asked 13 months ago when I arrived home from work to find my husband Travis unexpectedly and uncharacteristically lying on the sofa. He was behaving strangely and saying very bizarre things.

I decided he needed to go to our small town emergency room and, of course, he didn’t want to and thought that I was the one being weird. Our local doctor sent him by ambulance to the closest larger city hospital, which is an hour-and-a-half away, and my dad and I followed in our truck

It was winter in British Columbia. It was cold and dark and the roads were icy and terrible. The highway had been closed due to an accident, so we had to take a backroad detour which was a slick, windy luge track. We went around a corner to find the ambulance, lit up and flashing like Las Vegas, firmly stuck in the ditch.

We had to get Travis into our truck and make the rest of the journey to the hospital on our own. We were still an hour away and I didn’t know if he’d had a stroke or what the heck was going on. He had no mobility issues but continued using strange words and saying odd things.

We finally made it to the ER and he had a CT scan. It showed a golf ball-sized mass in his left frontal lobe, so he was admitted to the hospital, where we spent the next 11 days. After a few days he had an MRI and then surgery to remove the tumour. I spent hours online researching brain tumours and praying that the pathology results didn’t say it was the “G” one. If this proved to be the case the prognosis was a survival of 12–15 months, possibly a little more, possibly considerably less.

My healthy, hard- working, 48-year-old partner-in-life was in big trouble. We were shocked. We were sad. Our beautiful, simple and happy life was flipped on its head, almost literally.

After surgery Travis did amazingly well, and two days later we were home and he was out on his tractor plowing the driveway. The pathology results came in and the diagnosis of Glioblastoma Grade 4 was confirmed. Yes, it was “the worst of the worst” cancer. He healed for a month and then we moved five hours from home for six weeks of radiation and chemo.

A friend let us stay in her lakeside home in wine country. We had a big beautiful house all to ourselves, with plenty of room for the many friends who came to visit on weekends. We visited wineries and enjoyed the city and the lake. Travis felt quite well but was tired, and only sleeping two or three hours a night due to the steroid he had to take for brain swelling. Finally, after 30 radiation sessions, we were able to go home.

After a one month break, six months of at-home chemo began. Other than some extreme fatigue Travis handled it well. We decided to live our very best lives and to make the most of every day we were given. We did spring yard work and Travis played golf almost every day. We invited 150 people to our backyard and got married. We spent time with friends and family and we made some little trips around our beautiful province.

The support we’ve received through all of this has been absolutely amazing. There has been so much love from our families, friends and even people we hardly know. This little town we live in is such a very special place.

We try our best to keep gratitude in our hearts and find some joy in every day. We try not to let worry about yesterdays and tomorrows stop us from enjoying our todays. The past two MRIs indicated that things are stable and not progressing; we have another one in a month that hopefully will show the same.

But Glioblastoma is a beast. Treatments continue to improve, but there is no cure and it always comes back. Until a cure is found, we will continue to live and love, enjoy each day we are given, and share our story.