Feb 4, 2013 9:03 AM by Samantha Ptashkin

Tucson brain tumor patient defies odds, vows to fight on

TUCSON- Time takes on new meaning when a tumor takes over your brain.

"I am fortunate for every day that I have and I keep that in mind everyday," says Michael Alan Yubeta.

In 2005 Yubeta's time appeared limited. Doctors diagnosed him with Stage 5 Glioblastoma, a deadly brain tumor. "It was a little bit frightening at first, just because no one really expects that type of thing to happen," Yubeta says.

Most patients die within 12 months. But the now 39-year-old didn't let the data get him down. "If you allow cancer to take over your life, it won't just take over, it will take you completely," Yubeta says.

He has been through three surgeries, a lot of therapy and days of exhaustion, all which put a limit on what the once athletic man can do. "It's 11 hours of sleep, up for maybe a few hours and then a nap of two or three hours," Yubeta says.

But despite it all, doctors say today his tumor is stable. "Mike is clearly outside of the typical life expectancy and actually even quality of life that most patients experience," says Dr. Michael Badruddoja of the Center for Neuroscience.

He says one factor that may be helping Yubeta is his age. "If someone less than 51 years of age is diagnosed, their outcome is better than those individuals older than 51 years of age,"Dr. Badruddoja says.

But the answer isn't certain and neither is Yubeta's future. "There's always a chance it can come back," Dr. Badruddoja says. "That's how these tumors behave."

That's why Yubeta cherishes every day and hopes other patients will do the same. "Every minute counts, every minute is important," Yubeta says.

Between now and March 16 Yubeta is raising money to participate in the Phoenix Brain Tumor Walk. To learn more, head to Yubeta's website: www.sondaymourning.com or give him a call at (520) 437-9139.


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