Hello, my name is Isaiah, but you can just call me Zay. I’m 19 years old and I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, called “DIPG.” I was diagnosed on December 14, 2017. I knew something was not right with me. My body was trying to tell me something was wrong. I had issues with double vision and my balance which required me to depend on a walker. Sleep took over my life and I never had an appetite. The pounds just fell off of me. As an athlete, staying active was a huge part of my day. In time, I started losing myself and becoming weak and I couldn’t play basketball at my usual skill level. Also, I couldn’t throw the football around or even have a simple catch.
I ended up taking myself to the clinic to get a checkup. At that point, I was just told that I had low blood pressure and to make sure I drink water. So I started drinking lots of water and Gatorade and I still wasn’t feeling like myself. One day I was going to school and I almost fell due to my balance issues. School security guards caught me and took me to the office. They started questioning me and asking if I was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. I said, “NO!” They kept asking if I ate breakfast and they were offering me food but I didn’t want it because I wasn’t hungry. I just was telling them I don’t feel right can they call the ambulance. Finally, they called the ambulance then called my mom to update her that I was going to the hospital. I also was losing my memory so when they asked what hospital I wanted to go to I only could think of Einstein. I ended up getting there and they found the tumor but they wanted to get a better view so they sent me to CHOP. When I arrived, all my friends and family were there. They ran tests on me and that’s when I found out I had a brain tumor. The doctor told me I had 6 to 9 months to live. It made me break down but at the same time, I knew nobody could tell what’s in the future for you. I knew I had to fight this and that’s what I’m doing and will continue to do! I am a year & 7 months out from diagnosis. I will continue fighting this battle with every breath. Every day is a blessing, I appreciate everything. I never complain because I know there are others worse than me. At the end of the day, I keep my chin up and hope that I will inspire others to do the same! Thank you for reading my story.