May 15, 2013 | 715 views
Beating the odds despite fatal statistics
Woodsburgh resident Marc Davids overcomes brain cancer
On March 11, 2009 Woodsburgh resident Marc Davids’ left arm started shaking uncontrollably while at work at a small savings bank in Manhattan. A few weeks before that, his face would go numb and his lips quivered.
Before the shaking episode, Davids experienced what he thought were symptoms of a heart attack. Examined by a cardiologist, stress was considered the cause. “The symptoms included what I can describe as palpations in my chest,” he said. “Weeks could go by without any symptoms and other weeks, it would happen on and off throughout the day.”
The shaking in his arm didn’t stop as he retreated to lunch that day in 2009. “I actually remember trying to hold down my left arm with my right and couldn’t stop it from shaking,” he said. “I tried to get up and go to the bathroom and I remember fainting in the middle of my office.”
When Davids awoke he was in the emergency room at NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan. “After a CAT scan and an MRI, I was told to spend the night pending the test results,” he said. “Later that night the test results came in and I was told that I had a tumor in my brain and they recommended I take it out right away.”
A week and a half later, Davids had a craniotomy and was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and deadliest brain tumor in adults, according to the National Brain Tumor Society. “I was 48 at the time and never sick for a day in my life,” he said. “I used to tell my kids I was Iron Man. My thoughts were, ‘what is going on here? This isn’t happening to me.’”
Doctors wanted to be aggressive with Davids’ treatment and aside from chemotherapy and radiation, he was also taking a brain cancer treatment drug. “Every step of the way these doctors encouraged me to look at myself as an individual and not worry about the statistics,” he said.
Dr. Marc Chamberlain, a neuro-oncology specialist at the University of Washington, said treatment for glioblastoma multiforme typically includes a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. “The average survival rate is 18 months,” he said. “And unfortunately, there are no early detection or prevention programs for brain