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Bradley Horton’s Patient Story

Neurosurgeon: William Chandler, MD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Patient: Bradley Thomas Horton, Benign Brain Tumor

On Dec. 9, 2007, I celebrated my 40th birthday. That same day marked 27 years since I was first diagnosed with a brain tumor. It is really hard to believe that I had made it this far, especially when you consider all the things I have been through.

I was diagnosed with my brain tumor on my 13th birthday in 1980. The symptoms I experienced were headaches, nausea and a tremor in my right arm which started about three weeks before my birthday. The initial diagnosis was brain cancer, but after second opinion was sought, it was determined that a biopsy was necessary. I traveled with my family from Toledo, Ohio, to consult with William Chandler, MD, a neurosurgeon at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Dr. Chandler performed the biopsy on Dec. 16 and shunt placement on Dec. 31. Final removal of the tumor was accomplished in 1981.

I have had 14 operations over the course of 17 years (1980-1997). I had surgery on my left eye to correct double vision caused by the brain tumor. In 1997, I experienced four comas over a period of six months. During that time, I had a total of eight exploratory surgeries and shunt placements or revisions.

I have had to restart my life from scratch several times. What I mean by this is that I have had to relearn everything, at least once, and I have been trying to persevere for a long time, while "dangling." I have an ongoing mental disorder. It is relatively mild, but it still interferes with my daily life. This makes life a bit tricky. My marriage fell apart and my family abandoned me, so I have been homeless, or as I call it "houseless" twice. The first time was for a period of six months; the second for three years. This has taught me a lot and has inspired me to never give up.

Through my social security disability, I am enrolled in two programs in Massachusetts, where I now live: the Ticket To Work and the Plan to Achieve Self Support. Through these programs, for the last five years, I have laid the groundwork for my own agency, which will advocate for people with life-altering disabilities. My plan is to be a speaker to raise awareness about the real issues facing people with disabilities. My goal is to help teach people, especially those without disabilities, that people with disabilities have a lot to offer and we can do anything...we just do it our own way.

My agency will be called D.A.P.P.E.R. (DIFFERENTLY ABLED PROUD PEOPLE EXERCISING RIGHTS).

Recently, I slipped on some ice and suffered a subdural hematoma (bleeding in the brain). I have had to re-orient myself once again. Life is getting better though, a case in point...I found a very sweet woman to spend my life with, Melissa, after searching my whole life, and we plan on getting married within a year. I will never give up, and I will never stop trying!

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