Pedro Alvarez

5 min read

Pedro Alvarez, 34, from Manchester, is living with a glioblastoma (GBM) having originally been diagnosed with a  grade 2 diffuse astrocytoma in 2018 after losing the sight in his right eye. Dad to Noah, Pedro has had two operations and has undergone radiotherapy and chemotherapy. His latest MRI scan on 19 October was clear, with no sign of the disease.

Pedro’s wife Maria tells his story…

I met Pedro in 2013 and we got married in September 2019. We had some amazing years together; we travelled the world and lived many adventures. We were very happy and always felt truly lucky.

“Pedro never had any symptoms so it’s difficult to believe what happened to him.”

In 2018, while visiting friends and family in Spain, Pedro lost the vision in his right eye. He went to hospital and had an MRI scan which showed something on his brain. They didn’t think it was a tumour but said it could be a scar. There was inflammation of his optic nerve which is a sign of multiple sclerosis (MS), so the doctors were trying to prove he had MS by carrying out tests and a lumbar puncture.

In 2019, Pedro had an MRI scan at Salford Royal Hospital but like in Spain, the doctors thought it was a scar. At the end of that year, another scan showed a bit more growth; further growth was detected at the start of 2020, and we were told it was a brain tumour which is when the whole nightmare started.

Pedro underwent brain surgery in the middle of the pandemic in July 2020. He was admitted to hospital on his own, nobody could be with him, either before nor after the surgery.

“It was a nightmare; we couldn’t see our families and hug them. Pedro used his questionable sense of humour to face those hard days in hospital and never lost his smile.”

Surgery went very well, the surgeon achieved a full resection and Pedro recovered very quickly with no neurological deficits, but the histology report found it was a grade 2 diffuse astrocytoma.

“I wanted a family and to grow old with Pedro. I realised, at that moment, that this might not happen for us.”

We were told these types of tumours tend to grow back but it could take many years until it does so, we decided to leave that nightmare behind us and carry on with our lives.We continued with our plans. Pedro changed jobs, we bought a house and started trying for a baby. Noah was born in February 2022. It made us feel the luckiest people in the world.

“We never thought we could feel this happy and grateful ever again after everything that happened.”

We focused on enjoying this special time as new parents and appreciating every moment with Noah, however the fear of the tumour returning was inevitably always there, in the back of our minds.

In September 2022, while we were enjoying a family holiday in France, we received some news. The surgeon wanted to see Pedro face to face to discuss his last MRI's results.

The following week, it was confirmed that a small dot had been found on his brain. It was showing signs of aggressiveness and of being a high-grade tumour.Pedro had a second operation on 3 November; it was awful to go through it all again.

“The neurosurgeon said the procedure went well and all of the tumour was removed but I wasn’t prepared to hear the worst thing. The histology report showed the tumour was now a grade 4 glioblastoma (GBM).”

Pedro recovered very well and unbelievably quickly from the surgery. He started 33 sessions of radiotherapy on 13 December 2022, followed by six months of oral chemotherapy. He finished his treatment in July 2022, and he will have MRI scans every three months for life.

On Saturday 30 September 2023, Pedro, Noah and I took part in Brain Tumour Research’s Walk of Hope at Woodbank Park in Stockport, raising more than £7,000 to support the charity’s work. We are fundraising for Brain Tumour Research as they are the only national charity dedicated to funding long-term, sustainable research in the UK.

Brain tumours are devastating, but they are so underfunded, it’s infuriating. More needs to be done because there is a desperate need for more treatments, clinical trials and ultimately a cure. Life expectancy for people diagnosed specifically with this type of tumour is devastatingly poor.

Pedro is very intelligent, always thinking about new and fun personal projects to entertain his unquiet mind. He is kind, loving and caring, a genuinely good person.

“The acceptance and the strength that he has shown to navigate this incredibly difficult situation make me admire and love him even more.”

We can't afford the luxury of making plans or thinking about the future. We take every day as it comes, and we plan exciting things when we receive good news after each MRI.

Pedro had his latest routine MRI on 19 October 2023, and we just found out that it is clear, and there is no evidence of the disease. The oncologist confirmed they hit the tumour hard and hoped to have put it to sleep for as long as possible. We are very happy and relieved! We have already organised a trip back to Spain where we will enjoy Christmas and New Year together with our family and friends. We will make the most of it.

Maria Lopez - October 2023

Brain tumours are indiscriminate; they can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, they kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer... yet just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Brain Tumour Research is determined to change this.

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