Nov 12, 2017 Latest post:
Dec 11, 2018
Welcome to our Clarissa Ward's CaringBridge website! We are glad you visited and hope you continue to come back on an ongoing basis.
Clarissa's Uncle Larry created this website as an efficient way for Clarissa to stay connected with family and friends by sharing her personal journal, receiving personal email messages of encouragement, posting pictures on her Gallery page, use of links to other websites Clarissa uses and highlighting "Ways to Help" as support requests are communicated on a routine basis.
As most of you are aware, Clarissa was diagnosed with a tumor over her left eye after experiencing headaches and seizures. She underwent emergency brain surgery October 25, 2017 at Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC to remove the tumor and eliminate the pressure the tumor was putting on her brain. After the long surgery, the surgeon was very pleased that all of the tumor was removed as Clarissa began recovering. A biopsy of the tumor was taken during surgery and testing was performed to determine the tumor type and origin. As Clarissa continued to improve and recover from the surgery, on October 27, 2017 the biopsy results were confirmed by the surgeon that the tumor removed was a stage 4 Glioblastoma multiforme. This type of tumor is a fast growing brain cell origin that requires both a chemotherapy and radiation type treatment plan.
After a very fast surgery recovery period, Clarissa was released from the hospital on October 29, 2017 and rested at home while visiting new doctors in Asheville to determine specific treatment she will receive. Simultaneously, Clarissa's parents were checking all treatment options so Clarissa could receive the best and most advanced treatment available to her. Prior to her hospital discharge, we sent applications for Clarissa's treatment to The Duke Brain Tumor Cancer Center in Durham, NC. The Duke Center has a well known Surgeon/Oncologist named Dr. Friedman who is the facility Director and dedicates his life to providing support and treatment to children and adults who has been diagnosed with tumors located in the brain. He is well known for government sponsored "clinical trial" programs in addition to chemotherapy and radiation treatment plans. We all knew that Duke could offer the best treatment for Clarissa and we wanted to do everything we could to have her go to Duke for her treatments.
After days of diligence, persistence, and patience, a personal call from Dr. Friedman was received where he confirmed to Clarissa's Dad that Clarissa was best suited to receive all her treatment at Duke and he wanted her to commit to Duke for treatment, and her and her family were staying in Durham for the treatment. Clarissa's first day of treatment at Duke Cancer Center was November 29th, 2017. She continued orla chemo and radiation as well as a clinical drug trial for around 8 weeks with various check-ups there after. After January of 2018, she returned back to Asheville and continued to take oral chemo for a few months. Around June of 2018, the tumor started to grow back at a rapid pace and a different route was chosen.
Clarissa and her family were again under the care of Dr. Henry Friedman at Duke. She was then in another trial, called the Polio trial; a very popular one with glioblastoma patients. There is plenty of online research and published papers on this treatment. She is one of 61 people in the United States currently on this trial. She visits Duke Hospital every so often (once a month or so) to check up with her doctors. She left home in Asheville and went back to school in August of 2018 at UNC. She now lives right off campus in a home with some of her best friends. She is feeling well currently and hasn't had a migraine in months. She hasn't had a seizure in close to a year.
Clarissa will be taking control of this website and managing her communications with you. You can find updates under her journal tab, as well as pictures in her gallery as she chooses to upload them. You may also be able to access contributions, well wishes, make comments, and make donations to her GoFundMe if you wish to do so. We thank everyone already for all of their love and support. God is so good.
Thank you for visiting and we hope you will continue to do so on a regular basis.