Ep 13. Gill’s Story: The Biggest Gift of My Incurable Brain Tumor is The Outpouring of Love and Support

In this episode:

Three years ago, Gill, a father of four, was diagnosed with a golf-ball sized, grade 4 glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive, incurable brain cancer with a dire prognosis. Gill has undergone surgery, radiation, 95 rounds of chemotherapy, and wears 36 ceramic electrodes on his head to disrupt cancer cell growth. He’s just celebrated his 28-month “canniversary”. Gill was ecstatic to hear that his latest MRI indicated that his residual tumor remains stable, showing no growth since his surgery.

Upon hearing he likely had GBM, Gill did some research; the statistics – that approximately 50% of those with GBM die within 15 months – were not reassuring.  He feared he would not be able to watch his children get married and that he would miss out on loving and hugging his future grandchildren. When his diagnosis of GBM was confirmed, Gill hoped that he would be one of the few lucky individuals who experience a prolonged survival.

At the time of his diagnosis, Gill’s children ranged in ages from 8 to 21. Gill tailored the details he shared according to their ages. Knowing they had access to information, Gill was more forthcoming with his older children. His message centered on peace and optimism. Although they were initially shocked, his approach provided his children a sense of comfort.

Gill’s deep faith and trust in God provided him the strength to continue undergoing intensive treatment. Awaking with the knowledge that he has an incurable disease, Gill begins each day by giving thanks for another day and all of the blessings and gifts in his life. Whether the sight of a beautiful bird, a conversation with a stranger, Gill takes nothing for granted.

Early in his cancer journey, Gill was 1 of 150 Americans selected attend a week-long pilgrimage to a holy site in France. It was a beautiful and healing experience.

An Ambassador for Novocure, Gill shares his experience wearing the FDA-approved electrical device. He speaks with patients, caregivers, and physicians. It’s rewarding to speak with others and to answer their questions.

Despite aggressive treatment, residual tumor remains in Gill’s brain. Gill refers to his tumor a “squatter who is hanging out, not paying rent and not causing any problems.” This squatter has become the source of much beauty and many gifts in Gill’s life.

For those facing a GBM diagnosis, Gill suggests they focus on what they can control. Worry only adds angst and stress can adversely impact health. To caregivers, Gill emphasizes that love, positivity, and support are critical. Pity can be destructive to a patient’s hope and optimism.

Gill, his parents, and sisters have met – face-to-face and virtually – hundreds of individuals around the globe who have become Gill’s Prayer Warriors. Their prayers are powerful; Gill feels blessed and rich to have this army behind him. In addition to his deep faith, Gill draws inspiration from his parents, his sisters, his friends, and complete strangers. Gill enjoys talking with and inspiring others through the sharing of his cancer journey.

Watching his journey unfold before his eyes has been a beautiful experience and has reignited Gill’s faith in humanity.

“Most people deep down are loving, caring and supportive.”

Gill’s greatest hope is to live a long life and to have the opportunity to love his future grandchildren. He hopes for more time to experience the beautiful love he’s received and to inspire as many as he can along the way.


Optune: GBM Device

Gill’s Caring Bridge Site

Learn More About GBM

Thank you for listening!

May our stories help forge your path forward. I hope you’ll stay tuned for our next episode and in the meantime, learn more about my story on my blog.