Advocate Radiation Oncology

Brain Tumor Mistaken For COVID Brain

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A Lakewood Ranch resident ends up with a brain tumor after noticing some memory loss and brain fuzziness.

“I thought I had COVID brain, I was having trouble for about two weeks remembering things,” Brain cancer patient Rick Barton said.

About a month ago, Rick Barton noticed something was off with his memory.

“I had trouble remembering people’s names,” Rick said. “I was playing golf and I couldn’t remember how many shots I hit.”

So two weeks later, he goes to Lakewood Ranch Medical Center to find he has a brain tumor on the left side of his brain.

“Obviously, it was a gut punch,” Rick’s wife Barb Barton said it was not at all what we were anticipating.”

As soon as the doctors identified the tumor, they had it out within 48 hours.

“This is a very rapid disease,” Rick said. “You don’t survive. So, we were lucky we caught it so quickly, within two weeks, and take action right away. Having identified it on a Tuesday and having surgery on a Thursday is unheard of.”

Now, Rick is going to Advocate Radiation Oncology in Bradenton where Dr. Dwight Fitch prepared a treatment plan that includes six weeks of radiation, plus chemo pills every night. Rick has completed his first week.

“Radiation has the ability to penetrate the brain and the skulls and all those tissues because they’re X-rays,” Dr. Fitch said.

Dr. Fitch says treatments look different for everyone depending on the tumor grade.

“If it’s a grade one tumor, survival is longer and cure rates are higher,” Dr. Fitch said. “If it’s a grade 4 tumor like a GBM, cure rates are less. Not zero, but they are fewer cause tumors can behave more aggressively

No matter the prognosis, Rick and Barb are staying positive.

“For me, it’s always how I’ve lived my life; be positive,” Rick said. “Have positive energy, be a worker, work hard, play hard, have fun. That’s always been my mission.”

“I mean he is very positive,” Barb said. “So it helps tremendously for me. I think the attitude is the number one thing that might get you through this

Rick says he has four grandchildren to live for.

He may have just started the journey, but Rick says he is going to fight long and hard until the cancer is gone.

Dr. Fitch says the best thing to do is listen to your body. If you notice memory loss, don’t assume it’s because of old age and if you have persistent headaches, don’t assume that’s normal.