“I cannot change having cancer, but ‘it is what it is’, and I will get through this,” says Garnet.
This past summer into fall, Garnet and his fiancée, Autumn, were busy planning their wedding. They had big plans ahead of them, but one September morning changed their future.
“I had a debilitating headache. I called off work for fear of being sick, and not wanting to expose anyone. But then my headache turned into something much worse, and Autumn called for an ambulance.”
Garnet had signs of neurological damage and doctors tried to install a shunt, but intense swelling prevented the operation. Doctors told Autumn to prepare for the worst.
“They told her that I was going to die, and to call my family, who live near Albany, to get to Buffalo quickly,” Garnet explains. “But I got extremely lucky, and they were able to install the shunt after draining the fluid that had built up on my brain.”
Garnet was put into a medically-induced coma and kept in the ICU for weeks, which is where doctors found a pineal tumor. Through successful surgery, the tumor inside his brain was removed along with the entire pineal gland. But, that tumor left a devastating impact.
“The good news was that removal of the tumor was successful. The bad news was that it damaged my vision. That is hard for me because I rely on my vision so much – I am a competitive mountain biker, skier, and I don’t know if I will ever have the visual acuity that I did before.”
Despite a chaotic experience, Garnet was discharged and optimistic for total healing. But a visit to Roswell Park revealed even further challenges.
“I will never forget the resident’s face – even through his mask - when he told me that I had brain cancer.”
Thoughts like – ‘How will I survive?’, ‘I want to be a dad someday’, and ‘I need to be here for my future wife’ raced through his head. Garnet immediately began radiation, chemotherapy and even underwent gamma knife surgery to have a fighting chance. He is now on oral chemo medication and will continue that for months, even years if necessary, until he is declared cancer free.
“Maybe more stressful than the tumor itself and the cancer diagnosis has been the financial strain of being sick,” he says. “So, when the community rallied behind me, behind us, it gave me a new lease on life.”
Garnet says moving forward, this experience has taught him to appreciate the simplicity of life.
“I am trying to connect with people more, and call my mom more. This community has done such a good thing for me, and there is nothing more special than that. I will continue to fight because so many have shown that they care.”
Garnet Loveday’s shirt launched 12/14/20 and closes out 12/27/20.
This story is written by Kate Glaser and provided in partnership with Hope Rises: www.hoperisesnews.com.