About Sandra McGettigan



Sandy McGettigan


Sandy is a 1978 Emory University Graduate in Nursing. Then in the early 1990's she went through flying school and ended up flying corporate jets for Bombardier until she came down with her GBM. Sandy's story was posted June 7, 2003.

If you'd like to email Sandy with any comments, you can do so by clicking here.


See Sandy's Update Below!

I was back in Pennsylvania May 5, 1999, visiting with my father and brother for the purpose of celebrating my aunt's 50th wedding anniversary. I kept having very severe headaches as I describe them as if a vise was around my head. Every time I would stand up it would be almost unbearable. I went to the local emergency room and they checked me out and said I should have a complete neurological work up.

To give a little more background I am a 48 year old female who lived in Dallas, Texas in 1999 and every time I would attempt to open my apartment door I would have trouble turning the key with my right hand to open the door and this was very annoying. At the time I was a jet pilot working for Bombardier flying as a copilot of a Lear 31A Jet. My captain had noticed I was having problems using the radio and filling out paperwork but she thought I was going through some stress related problems and she just did them for me.

Back to the story: My father called my older brother, who by the way is an Urgent Care Specialist (MD) in Arizona and told him of my problems. He suggested I fly back to Arizona with my dad and he would have me checked out by an Internist with whom he worked. I took his advise and flew back to Tucson and met with Dr Vig (internist) , who after examining me, ran a CT Scan and as soon as he read it he contacted Dr Norton a Neurosurgeon who did a complete work up and I was in Surgery May 11, 1999 at the Tucson Medical Center.

The surgery found that I had a Butterfly GBM 4 (tumors in the right and left frontal lobes). Dr Norton partially removed the left frontal lobe tumors and placed Glio Wafers in the cavity.

I had 30 direct beam radiation treatments as soon as possible after surgery.

Then in October 18, 1999 Dr Norton did the same surgical procedure on the right frontal lobe again placing Glio Wafers in the cavity.

I went through a rash of many problems which included severe brain swelling. i was on heavy doses of steroids which had the result of extreme weight gain. I have been completely removed from steroids and my weight is slowly returning to normal.

I started Temodar treatments in February 2000 400mg a day for 5 days and 23 days off and if all the blood work up was OK start again. I did 21 of those treatments and in June 2002 I ask my Oncologist Dr Maria Bishop of the University of Arizona Cancer Center if I could stop the treatments as I was extremely fatigued for most of the month and then back on the Temodar again. Dr Bishop agreed and I have been off all medication except my anti seizure medication since then and I feel great.

I have an MRI every 3 to 4 months and thus far they have been stable. I celebrated my fourth anniversary in May 2003 and looking for many more.

I am totally retired living with my parents in Sun City, Tucson, Arizona.


Updated March 15, 2004


Hi Frank,

Just a short note to let you know Sandy is still hanging in there. She had her last MRI in Dec. 2003 and the tumor remains stable. She was put on six month MRI schedule so she won't have another until Jun or July 2004.

Hoping all is well on your end.

Prayers and hope from AZ.

Jack McGettigan
Sandy's Father


Updated November 21, 2004



Sandy had an MRI on November 1st, 2004 and as usual all is still stable with no change from her last update. All is well. She has been on weight watchers for a while and she is doing great. She is currently on a trip to London, England with her brother from Michigan.

Love and prayers for all survivors of the dreaded GBM from AZ.

Jack, Sandy's Dad

Updated June 28, 2005

To update you on Sandy, she had her latest MRI on May 2, 2005. Tumor remains stable with no new areas of concern. Dr Norton her Neuro Surgeon said she only needs to have an MRI once a year. She was very happy with this news.


Update June 1, 2006

Hi Frank,

Could you update Sandy's survival story. Sandy had an MRI on May 9th 2006. All is still stable and Sandy is doing just fine.