My name is Femme Hensen and this is the story of our daughter Nicole, who was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
It was January 2006 and our family had just celebrated Christmas together in Elliott Heads.
We had all had a lovely time, although Nicole did not seem her usual happy, chirpy self. It seemed like there had been a personality change, she was moody and could not explain why.
When Nicole got back to Brisbane she decided to see a doctor about her constant headaches.
The doctor said she may have been suffering from migraines and prescribed some medication for her. The headaches did not subside and were getting worse, so Nicole returned to the doctor who ordered a scan to be done that same day.
On January 6 (her husband Willie’s birthday) her world, and ours fell apart.
We received a phone call from Willie stating that the the scan showed Nicole (aged 34)had a massive brain tumour that was so large it had pushed into the right side of her brain. No wonder she had constant headaches....Nicole was admitted to hospital that same
day for surgery. By the time we arrived from Elliott Heads the next day, Nicole was still in She remained in emergency for 18 hours, her
planned for the next day. To cut a long story short, her surgery was cancelled twice.
Finally on Monday January 9 at 8 am Nicole was prepared for surgery. Here was my child,so critically ill that she had lost her balance, her speech was incoherent and her headache had been so severe that she needed morphine for the pain. There are no words to describe how we felt.
After six gruelling hours of surgery we saw her coming out and she had the biggest smile on her face. We could not believe she had just
had major brain surgery. Most of the tumour was removed and results would be back in three days. Nicole’s recovery was remarkable,with family and friends streaming in and out for her tumour would
benign. On January 12 her results came back, and not only was it found to be a malignant tumour,but one of the most aggressive of all brain tumours. We were absolutely devastated. Why,why, had this happened to our child who had never harmed anyone? Nicole recovered well from surgery and came home as there was nothing more the hospital could for her until her treatment started.
My research to find out about GBM started then,and has been on-going to this day. The internet became my friend and my support, and gave me knowledge and insight into this dreadful disease.
energy, something she was lacking. On January 19 Nicole had her first visit with the radiologist.We had no idea what to expect, as we thought it was going to be the day of her first treatment,
but this was not to be for another seven weeks.
The radiologist informed us of Nicole’s prognosis, which we were told was grim, that there was no cure and that her life expectancy
believe that no two people are the same. What were we to tell her son? He knew his mummy was sick but could not comprehend how sick,
as he was only six years old at the time. From that day on, Nicole was determined to show everyone that she was not a person to lie down and give up. On January 21 2006 family and friends came for
an INSPIRATIONAL Party. They were asked to bring a chair, a plate and most of all, a positive to a bed to receive the radiation beams to the exact place on her head. Although the treatment was rough, and Nicole did lose hair and felt sick from the chemotherapy, the hospital staff were very empathetic and showed compassion for Nicole.Radiation continued for six weeks, and after six cycles
of chemotherapy the MRI results showed that the tumour left had now shrunk to two centimetres, which was great. ...
Our Motto is:
Where there is
FAITH there is HOPE,
Where there is HOPE
Miracles can occur
October 15 2006 was Nicole’s birthday and we had a big surprise party for her. Instead of bringing presents, friends and family donated money so that Nicole, her husband and son could have some time away together. Nicole finished her six cycles of chemotherapy
and it was decided that although the tumour was still two centimetres it was now time to monitor her. Our struggle began for longer treatment and after much discussion and reasoning that Nicole
had nothing more to lose, they decided Nicole was to have 12 more cycles. July 24 2008 Nicole had no visible sign of tumour and was back at work full-time.February 2010 and Nicole is doing great and
continues to work full-time and care for her family. She remains medication free, with her last MRI in November 2009 showing once again no visible signs of a tumour.Our daughter truly has an angel sitting on her shoulder each and every day. She is an inspiration to me and many others. Nicole said from the very beginning she would never lie down and just accept this disease. The oncologist believes she is a success story as only two per cent of GBM patients survive two years. Nicole is known as the ‘miracle girl’ at the hospital where she was treated and well I CANT DENY THAT. To all GBM patients, never give up hope. Fight this disease in a positive way. No one knows when your time is up!!!!!!!
P.S. I personally wish to give a massive thank you to all those who supported Nicole and her family. A special thanks to Cancer Council Qunsland who gave us the information and support we so badly needed at the time.
Nicole’s employer has since donated to Cancer Council Queensland and will continue this each
This was the story I wrote in the Cancer councilBrain Support Sevice booklet.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.