MARY MEAUX — Death of cancer patient brings the pain of brain tumors to light
Published 12:01 am Thursday, June 22, 2023
A few years have passed since I spoke with a nice lady named Hertha McKee.
Her then 39-year-old grandson, Aubrey McKee, had been diagnosed glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer, and she wanted to spread the word of a benefit to help with medical expenses.
Aubrey was diagnosed in November 2020. He had plans to get married but instead was having surgery to remove what they could before undergoing chemotherapy and radiation several times. He also suffered from a stoke after the surgery which affected his left arm.
The Thomas Jefferson High School class of 1999 graduate and his then fiancé Sarah moved their wedding date up, were wed and set up home in Beaumont.
Hertha told me back in 2021 that the surgery was considered successful but glioblastoma always have a way of coming back.
Despite knowing at least five other people in Jefferson and Orange counties had succumbed to this form of cancer, the family held high hopes.
Hertha reached out to Wednesday to inform me of Aubrey’s passing.
“I am sorry to report that Aubrey died at home Sunday following treatments at MD Anderson for the past 31 months,” Hertha wrote in her email.
The usual life expectancy for someone with this “cruel cancer” is from six months to 18 months and only one or two people have survived 10 years, she added.
“Although the battle was lost for Aubrey and Sarah, his wife, there is hope for the many others still fighting,” she wrote. “Sarah and Aubrey married in January 2021. She was his rock and his guardian angel. She never gave up! Thank you for your help in highlighting the horror of this cancer.”
I hope Hertha is OK with me sharing this email as I hope it brings light to a terrible disease. And in writing about it I also hope to humanize this so Aubrey is not just a statistic.
His family said memorial contributions may be made to MD Anderson Cancer Center Moon Shots-Glioblastoma Program at gifts.mdanderson.org.
Select “Other” when you choose where you want it to go and then type “Moon Shots – Glioblastoma” as this is for Brain Cancer Research, according to his obituary.
I may not have known Aubrey but I have an inkling of understanding to what his family has lived. My dad died from a brain tumor when I was in the seventh grade. I don’t even know if his form of brain tumor had a name, only that it was inoperable. I saw a once strong, vibrant, funny, loving father and husband dwindle down to being bedridden.
There was a feeding tube that was in his nose and I learned to help my mom change the sheet with him in the hospital bed that was in our living room.
He eventually was hospitalized until his death. The school nurse had to get me from home economics class and bring me to the hospital when that time neared. This was many years ago and the pain has faded but I still miss him.
MD Anderson is working toward a cure for glioblastoma, according to their website. Gliobastoma is one of the most common primary brain tumors in adults and frequent solid tumor in children. It is an aggressive tumor that can occur in any lobe of the brain but mostly commonly in the frontal and temporal lobes.
These tumors don’t metastasize outside the brain but are “very infiltrative and spread into other parts of the brain quickly.”
“The Glioblastoma Moon Shot” is working to save the lives of patients with a coordinated, multidisciplinary team of researchers and physicians committed to findings new vulnerabilities, testing new therapies and implementing better treatment approaches in the clinic,” according to their website.
My condolences to the family of Aubrey McKee.
Mary Meaux is a news reporter at the Orange Leader. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.