Julie Prater

First post: Jun 30, 2014 Latest post: Oct 15, 2020
"Through him whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, character, and hope"
Romans: 5:2-4 

I was a 32-year-old nurse, busy with working in the nursery at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Plano and going to school part time to become a nurse practitioner at Baylor University. I have a loving husband and a 12-month-old son, and we just found out that we are expecting our second child. We are enjoying a life full of adventure and love.

On May 28, 2014 my life changed forever. At 5:00 AM, I woke up to check on my crying child and immediately started having a full-body seizure. My husband heard the fall and my scream; he called 911 and all of a sudden I was in the ER of the hospital where I work. This time, however, I was there as a patient instead of as an employee. After some tests I was told that I had a brain tumor that needed to be followed up at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center due to the tumor being located in a delicate area—my motor strip—where movement is controlled. I was in shock but remained hopeful, because the tumor did not look too aggressive. In 3 weeks I had a follow-up MRI and met the neurosurgeon and his Nurse Practitioner (Dr. Bruce Mickey and Mike Levy) at UT Southwestern.  Dr. Mickey entered the room and told me that the tumor had grown and that surgery was necessary, since the tumor had started to appear aggressive. On June 30, 2014 I underwent neurosurgery to remove the tumor and to find out what type of tumor it is. There was a threat of miscarriage after surgery, but my baby fought through it. Two days later, Dr. Mickey entered the room to give me the news: I have Grade IV glioblastoma multiforme brain cancer.. It is the most aggressive type of brain tumor and the median survival rate is 14 months.

I was devastated and overwhelmed by the choices I would have to make for myself but more importantly for the choices that would affect the baby that I am carrying. I began recovering from surgery and making choices to delay treatment for the health of my baby until I saw new tumor growth. I began feeling better only to return to the ER weeks later, fearing a miscarriage. As it turns out, my baby girl is a fighter and had once again pulled through. At 8-weeks post-surgery, I felt great. I returned to work and life felt like it was getting back to normal. On September 7, 2014, however, my life changed once more. I became sick with a stomach bug and in the middle of the night had two full body seizures, which were followed by two hours of right leg partial seizures. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital where I work, once again as a patient instead of an employee. After many tests I was discharged with a new, normal, everyday life that includes several partial right-leg seizures each day and requires assistance when walking. I had an MRI two weeks later that showed the tumor had returned. For my sake and my baby’s sake treatment became mandatory.

I began radiation treatment at UT Southwestern with Dr. Choe my radiation oncologist and his team on October 7, 2014 while 27-weeks pregnant. I finished my six weeks of radiation at 34-weeks pregnant. I was fighting not only for my life but for my baby girl’s life as well!  It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life but with the help of God and Jesus, family, friends, co-workers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Plano, and all of my doctors (Dr. Watkins OB, Dr. Zink high risk ob, Dr. Seals neurologist, Dr. Pan neuro oncologist, Dr. Choe Radiation oncologist, Dr. Mickey Neurosurgeon and their team of nurses and Nurse Practitioners) we made it to 36.1 weeks!!!  Baby June Lane Prater was born healthy, pink, and ready to go on Monday, December 8, 2014 at 0949.  My experience at my hospital was awesome and made me proud to work for Texas Health Presby Plano, they are really the best place to have a baby.  They took care of us like no others could have and the delivery team made sure everything went as best it could.  Now we are moving on to the next step, which is enjoying life, living each moment, thanking God for each moment, and praying for the miracle of healing while managing my symptoms and using modern medicine by beginning chemotherapy December 17th.   Through these trials I am still thankful especially during this season I am alive, my baby is alive, I have the support of my family and friends, and I am thankful I believe in a God who can do anything and provides me with peace and comfort. I cannot control what happens, nor do I know what the future holds, but I can control my attitude about my situation.

I am now a survivor of brain cancer for 2 years and 4 months.  I am  34 years old.  My little June is 2 years old and doing great with the help of her Dr. Randy Naidoo, Nurse Practitioners, and his nurses at Shine Pediatrics.  Her brother Judd is now 3 years old and also doing great.  I completed 12 rounds of chemotherapy in November of 2015.  My MRI's are every 3 months and are looking great.  I'm taking a break from chemotherapy until anything changes in my MRI's or symptoms.  Hopeful and praying that will not happen I continue to enjoy time with my family and friends.  Lovin life and living it to the fullest. 

September 2019
Judd and June are now in 1st and Pre-K.  Lukes 36 an Im 37.  We have had amazing adventures in the last 5 years making memories and traveling.  Each day/hour/moment has been a gift and miracle.  Getting ready now for Round 2 battle with GBM.