Catherline Ledlow, 33-year-old mom from Oklahoma, had just given birth to her second child when she found out she had a rare form of cancerous tumor growing on her brain : an oligoastrocytoma.
Catherine wanted the best treatment possible to be able to live a full long life with her husband and children, and turned towards proton therapy. Doctors at Oklahoma City’s ProCure Proton Therapy Center said the tumor is treatable and that Catherine should be able to enjoy a good quality of life. 95% of the tumor has already been removed through surgery, and proton therapy is aimed at stopping the remaining 5%.
Catherine is not taking any chances. She has been making videos for her two children, just in case the treatment fails. “The moments that we are having are so irreplaceable,” she said to them in a videotaped conversation. “I want to show you how strong I am”.
It’s her hope that her messages will someday be only a reminder of a tough time in her life and not a memorial to a life cut short. “I’m planning on being here, but there is a part of me that has to think about if I’m not,” said Catherine. “It’s hard to think that I may not be here to finish raising them and I want to meet my grandkids, and I want to get old with my husband. And to think that those opportunities might be taken away is really hard.”
She admits some days are more emotional than others, but overall she is trying to stay positive in this fight for her life. And, after undergoing 12 of 26 planned radiation treatments, Catherine certainly hasn’t lost her sense of humor. “This is my waffle face,” she said. “It’s because you have a mask on your face that sort of grips you down to the table so you can’t move your head very much – so that’s why I have my waffle face.” Catherine is also taking oral chemotherapy. She does it all with a smile, for more than herself : for her family.
Catherine is also trying to raise money for the Oklahoma Brain Tumor Foundation and for clinical trials at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. To sign up for donations, visit http://www.okbtf.org/ and www.OMRF.org.