Brooke Kotrla Baldwin

First post: Jun 4, 2017 Latest post: Nov 6, 2023
Welcome to my CaringBridge website. I am using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. 
Thank you for all the prayers and support I have received so far. #ExpectMiracles 

2017-Brooke had an awake craniotomy on June 8, 2017. She ended up spending 5 days in ICU due the difficulty of the surgery and recovery. She had 34 seizures in during surgery making removing the entire tumor too difficult.   

She was diagnosed with a grade 2 diffuse astrocytoma at that time . She had proton radiation for 6 weeks in August then went through a fertility preservation process and had an egg retrieval procedure. She then started a year long chemo regime on Temozolamide. She had 5 days on every month and 23 off for one year. She tolerated everything well that year and finished her last chemo in August 2018. 

Brooke was also continuing her school through Texas Tech online all during her treatment. She was able to start teaching dance part time and was staying active.

2019-In March of 2019, she met Tyler Baldwin and by December of that same year they were engaged.  

2020-In August of 2020, Brooke graduated from Texas Texas! All during this time she was monitored closely with regular MRI scans that were all stable.

2021- Brooke and Tyler were married in the most beautiful ceremony on April 30, 2021 at The Bell Tower in Houston, Texas! They moved to Austin and started a new life together. 

In June of 2021, Brooke went to her regular follow up appointment for her MRI scans and something had changed. There was a small enhancement in her scan that looked "worrisome" to her oncologist. He got her surgeon in to see her that same day to discuss some options. They tentatively planned a biopsy surgery for 2 weeks later pending some advanced MRI testing. Brooke had an ABTI (Advanced Brain Tumor Imaging), cognitive functioning testing, and a functional  MRI. After much testing, they agreed it was not worth the risk and that the spot could be scar tissue forming. The biopsy was cancelled and the next step was to do another ABTI in 60 days.

On August 11, Brooke had her ABTI. The enhanced spot had grown by 2.5X. Both her surgeon and the oncologist agreed that it was time for a biopsy.

On August 19, 2021, Brooke had her biopsy with Dr. Lang. She did very well and spent one night in ICU. The biopsy showed that the tumor had progressed to a  "stage 4 IDH Mutant Astrocytoma." Her team of doctors are all in agreement that another awake craniotomy is the next step. They want to remove as much tumor as possible, as safely as possible before starting her on another radiation ad chemo protocol. 

Brooke had another awake craniotomy on September 16 at MD Anderson with a gross total resection. She completed radiation with concurrent chemo in the fall of 2021. She spent the next many months home recovering, getting stronger, and in occupational therapy. She completed 4 rounds of Avastin (a biologic immunotherapy) at MD Anderson by May of 2022 and had good results. She took the summer of 2022 to recover from so many treatments and got stronger and healthier. In the fall, her MRI started to show some progression again as this type of cancer can be aggressive. Her neuro-oncologist started her back on a chemotherapy in late 2022. The tumor continued to progress and she was able to get compassionate access to Tibsovo, an IDH-inhibitor drug, through the manufacturer despite numerous insurance denials.  

In January 2023, Brooke started having increase symptoms of headache, neck pain, and started having issues with vomiting. This coincided with the start of Tibsovo but after testing and some time in the hospital her doctors realized that the new drug was not to blame but increased pressure in her brain due to swelling and tumor growth. January 27, 2023 she started a new regime of Avastin infusions planned to be every 2 weeks. 

Brooke went on hospice March 20, 2023 after the tumor continued to grow through numerous Avastin infusions.  Brooke never gave up and after 7 weeks she opened her eyes in heaven for the first time on Saturday, May 6, 2023 holding her beloved Tyler's hand.

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