‘You’ve got a brain tumour’ cut through the silence of a mum’s hospital room, turning her world upside down in an instant. But she’s fighting back.
‘You’ve got a brain tumour’ cut through the silence of a mum’s hospital room, turning her world upside down in an instant. But she’s fighting back.

Beloved mum in fight of life against brain cancer

'YOU'VE actually got a brain tumour'.

The words no mother wants to hear cut through the silence of Bianca Amore-Cortez's hospital room on a September day, turning her world upside down in an instant.

The police officer's headaches started small, eased with some pain killers, but quickly progressed to the point where she lost feeling in the left side of her body and almost collapsed in her bathroom.

"And then instantly a massive, big headache like my head was going to burst open," she told the Townsville Bulletin about the day she found out she had brain cancer.

"I thought worst case scenario it was a stroke, but it wasn't."

The 44-year-old mum of four has been diagnosed with stage four Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), the most aggressive brain cancer, of which the survival rate is very slim.

The average survival rate while undergoing the normal treatment of intense radiation and chemotherapy is 12 to 15 months.

Speaking with the Bulletin at their Kirwan home on Monday, Senior Constable Amore-Cortez and her husband Tim Nugent were waiting on a call from one of the best neurosurgeons in the world.

Townsville police officer, Bianca Cortez, is fund raising to receive overseas treatment for her Glioblastoma multiforme. Pictured with husband Tim Nugent. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Townsville police officer, Bianca Cortez, is fund raising to receive overseas treatment for her Glioblastoma multiforme. Pictured with husband Tim Nugent. Picture: Alix Sweeney

His specialties are one of the many options they've looked into since her diagnosis, including "out of the box" treatments in Mexico, Germany and Texas.

Ms Amore-Cortez had already undergone one brain surgery, a six-week round of chemotherapy and radiation, and had just stated her second intense round of chemotherapy.

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to completely kill the cancer, which Ms Amore-Cortez described as an "octopus".

"(It has) all these little tentacles that hook out into your brain area which makes it impossible to get the whole thing," she said.

"We were told that the surgeon did his best but there was nothing more they could do."

Despite the setback, she wasn't giving up, and has scoured all corners of the globe to find a possible treatment.

A three-month stay at a Texas medical centre is among the options, which is trialling a program that tries to trick the body into thinking the tumour is a virus the body can fight.

Mr Nugent said the American centre was also trialling an acid which was injected into the body to try and "cook" the tumour from the outside.

Townsville police officer, Bianca Cortez, is fund raising to receive overseas treatment for her Glioblastoma multiforme. Pictured with husband Tim Nugent. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Townsville police officer, Bianca Cortez, is fund raising to receive overseas treatment for her Glioblastoma multiforme. Pictured with husband Tim Nugent. Picture: Alix Sweeney

"They are well ahead of the pack in terms of solutions," Mr Nugent said.

Ms Amore-Cortez said the travel impacts of COVID-19 have been the most frustrating part.

"Its tortured … just sitting still, you are wanting treatment … that's been hard. Waiting and wanting to start a new treatment," she said.

"I don't want to give up … but these things cost money to get over there."

With both husband and wife now off work, the parents were under some financial pressure, but the Townsville community weren't going to let them do it alone.

In the last week, friends, family and strangers have raised more than $40,000 to go towards Bianca's treatments.

Multiple Townsville businesses, including Grill'd and Tropical Seafood, had got on board to help in any way they could.

Mr Nugent said their family was beyond grateful.

"That gives you energy, knowing that people are behind you," he said.

"Cancer sucks, dealing with it … it's pretty hard.

"From where we were December last year to where we are now, has been a massive flip."

Ms Amore-Cortez was not giving up without a fight, with her husband her biggest support.

"Positivity breeds positivity," Mr Nugent said.

If you'd like to donate, click here.

 

 

shayla.bulloch@news.com.au

Originally published as Beloved mum in fight of life against brain cancer



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