It is an honor to share a bit of the story of Dr. Beverly Zavaleta. We met on social media and quickly found familiar ground. She is quick to strike a cord of familiarity with families whose loved one or you yourself are facing a battle against cancer. A time when so much uncertainty awaits clarity is desperately needed. Dr. Zavaleta, knowing the ins and outs of treatment plans, with the perspective of a physician and patient writes her book Braving Chemo.
In treating many patients with brain cancer I recommend this book to all patients and families facing this challenge. I give this recommendation from my perspective as a neurosurgeon that focused on oncology, a son whose mother lost the battle to ovarian cancer during my residency, and as a humanitarian. Having met individuals at all stages of the battle Dr. Zavaleta’s book is refreshing and brings a realistic hope and inspiration to those in a most vulnerable time of need.
I want to share a couple of stories. As a resident I met at the door off of North Wolfe Street a daughter, I will call her Mickey, and her mother. She was an amazing 12 year old young woman with a new diagnosis of a medulloblastoma. I had the honor of meeting her and her family and getting started with the treatment plan. This required a drain tube to be urgently placed. Later that evening they met my mentor and their attending Neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson. He gracefully elaborated on the discussions I had the privilege of starting. Fast forward 12 year. I am in Cancer Treatment Centers of America consulting with a young man with metastatic liver disease with newly diagnosed spread to the brain. This is where a doctor and patient can have an intimate relationship in a flash. With tears welling up in his eyes and voice shaking he asks me “how am I supposed to tell my wife I’m going to die.” With tears now welling up in my eyes I led him down a journey of survival another nearly 6 years. During times like these the book Braving Chemo can provide clarity, hope, compassion and a realism on this most frightening challenge.
See more about Dr. Zavaleta and her amazing story of hope, courage and triumph at https://www.beverlyzavaletamd.com/.