Givens Brain Tumor Center
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Givens Brain Tumor Center 
Abbott Northwestern Hospital Neuroscience Institute 
Suite 304 
800 East 28th Street 
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Grey Matters Newsletter

Givens Brain Tumor Center

At the Givens Brain Tumor Center, we believe each patient deserves excellence in comprehensive care, including cutting-edge technology from a compassionate staff, in an environment focused on their unique needs. Our experts collaborate to provide comprehensive treatment that address each patient’s mind, body and spirit.

Our mission is to provide world-class coordinated, whole person care for patients with brain cancer

Features of the Center include:

  • Coordinated, whole-person care, including a proactive relationship with patients and their care circle, facilitated by virtual and home visits
  • Brain tumor support groups and connections into community resources
  • Leading-edge diagnostics and clinical research
  • A full range of advanced treatment options for adults with brain tumors, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy/radiosurgery, and innovative brain tumor clinical trials
  • Supportive care from complementary Allina Health services, including Allina Health Cancer Institute, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute and Penny George™ Institute for Health and Healing

Support group information


Temozolomide education for patients (audio)

Patient stories: AMY

[MUSIC PLAYING] I've been married to Paul for almost 14 years. We have a nine-year-old son, his name is Ethan. He'll be in the fourth grade this coming fall. It was around Father's Day June 2015 that it started to get terrible headaches. I was dropping things, and I would go to cut sandwiches in half and it wouldn't be in half. My mid-line was off, so It'd be like a fourth and 3/4 of a sandwich, so I knew something was off. 

So it was a Monday, and I went to a doctor, and I went to get my MRI. And I would say within an hour of being home, I got a phone call and I didn't pick it up, I just let it go to voicemail. He left a message, and I still have that message saved on my voicemail. 

Hi. This is Dr. Dryer calling for Amy Wulvert. I want to go over your scan results, and what next steps are. Sorry missed you. I thought they were in a hold-- 

He said, I don't like to leave these messages on a voicemail, but I don't want to make you come back to the hospital. And then from there he said that there were definitely three growths on my brain that I needed to get checked out further. And he estimated that they were about the size of a plum. Immediately after that voicemail, I looked at my husband and said, I'm scared. 

Paul asked, what do you want to do? Do you want to fight this? And I said, absolutely I want to fight this. I'm not done being a mom. I'm not done being a wife. I'm not done being an aunt, or a daughter, or a sister, or a friend. And basically saying, how do I fight this? How do I cross that finish line? After my surgeries and after they removed the stitches, we started to visit with Dr. Trusheim. 

The Givens brain tumor center definitely makes you feel more than a patient. You almost feel like family. And they're always asking about our son and how he's doing, and just the fact that they remember those little things about your personal life means a lot. 

I think Ethan was born to the perfect parents. I think with Paul and Amy, they took what Ethan's disability was and decided, this little boy is going to have the best life we can possibly give him. We're going to help him accept his disability and not let it hinder him. And then when Amy was diagnosed with her brain tumor and she saw and thought about some of the barriers that he had overcome, I think she's taken that to heart and realized that this is a great opportunity for me to show my son how to move forward. 

I owe it to him to show him that I'm going to fight as hard as I can to always be there for him. 

Amy is an inspiration to all of us, because she's faced some obstacles, some challenges in her life. Nevertheless, her perspective in that is her disease is not her. She is who she is, and this disease is something that affects her, but doesn't define her. 

I'd like to thank the donors to the Givens brain tumor center, because I don't believe I would be where I'm at today with all the help I've received from Dr. Trusheim and his staff just to help me in my journey come this far.

Patient stories: Jenn


Come on, Connie.

I grew up in a suburb of Wichita, Kansas. I took off, and I bounced all over the country, from Atlanta to San Francisco and Seattle and all around. And I ended up here just by pure luck.

And I had the good fortune of being in a really good place to have something as horrible as a brain tumor happen. It was 2016. And I was at Connie's parents' for Christmas. And I had a full grand mal seizure on the floor, flopping around like a fish out of water.

Within a couple of weeks, I was under the knife, having brain surgery. And all I told the doctor was that, dude, this is not rocket science. You do a good job, OK? He did all right.

I had a friend of mine ask me, have you ever really been scared? And I looked at him, and I said, really? You want to ask me that? I'm not a God-fearing person, not a particularly religious person. But I sat down on the edge of my bed and prayed-- said, God, I can't do this by myself.

I think Jenn's really had quite a journey. I think when she first met us, I think she trusted us. And she knew that we were going to do the best for her. But I think she might have been just a little angry at her whole circumstance.

I was pissed-- I mean rage. I played guitar for 43 years. I don't play anymore.

And I'll never play again. My fingers don't move. And that is the least of what pissed me off. But now I've got a direction that I know I'm being led. The direction that I'm being led is to help other people be able to deal with it better than I did.

She's really come from the "why me" and "this is terrible" kind of thing, which is expected-- I would be the same-- to really a positive, what can I do to help others? And her arc has been one of gradual more acceptance and still even more fight, I would think, and gratitude for all the support that she gets.

I have the good fortune of being with someone who would not put up with my crap. Connie is the biggest pain in my butt and my savior. We've been together for about 10 years. And she's the biggest support system a person could have-- biggest heart in the world. I'm a lucky one.

I've been cancer-free for about 14 months now. I'm cancer-free. But I still have these scars that tell a story that very few people can tell, that I can share. And it's not something to bear me down, to weigh me down, to make me feel bad about myself.

It's something that I lived through, that I'm proud of, that I can give to others, that I can-- I have made it through so I can give it to others. This wasn't just to piss me off. It was to lead me down the right road.

Patient stories: DAN
I have an awesome family. We all joke with each other and get along, cry-- everything together. My wife's name is Summer. And my son's name is Devon. And my in-laws-- we all live together-- is Wanda and Ron [? McClovis. ?] I found out that I had a brain tumor, just came out of nowhere really. 

I was driving home after picking up my son. And I had a seizure while driving. And he took over the wheel and saved my life, basically, from going into the ditch or a house. Devon was 13 at the time. I had to go to Mercy Hospital. 

When I came to, they had to make a decision to do brain surgery to remove the much they could of the tumor. That's how I found out I had a tumor as well. I didn't even know any of this was happening, because I am in good health. And I'm a guy. We don't go to the doctors like we should. 

So they went along with surgery. So that's what we got to do. Through it all, I've always said everything happens for a reason. So I've been positive as much as possible about it. 

Summer and I had discussed-- because there's already options, you go anywhere. And we decided to go through Givens Brain Tumor Center. I love that place actually. Summer and I get everyone to laugh there. So I enjoy going there every two months. 

Ben is just one of the most enthusiastic livers of life that I've met. He makes it somewhat easier on everybody when someone is that enthusiastic, because you know you have a willing partner whatever we need to try to accomplish. 

Dan took the bull by the horns in what do I have to do to fight this disease to the best ability I can. And that included continuing to be active, because we know research shows us that by being active, patients will do better. 

My main hobby is golf. I golf probably three or four times a week or more. And then I work. That's what I do. My line of work I do for my profession is floor covering. And I'm self-employed. 

But now it's getting a little tougher now after this happened. So eventually, I'll probably go into sales more than anything else. I still go out every day to install flooring. I've pretty much tried to get back to everything I used to do. 

He remains very active. But he's also cognizant of what his body needs. And he pays attention to that. 

Sometimes his wife has to help him along with that and kind of remind him that we don't want you working 60 hours a week. We want a balance with life and enjoyment. And he has grasped his family and just looked at enjoying them, knowing that potentially his life isn't as long as he had planned. 

They said it possibly could come back in 10 years. My goal-- they don't have all the technology as they do now. But I figure in the next few years they'll have something that will allow me to live way past what they even think now. So I'm praying for that, I'm hoping. 


Patient stories: Jen

[LAUGHTER] Honey, I'm going to give you Underdog.

No, give me an Underdog.


Me an Underdog.

Underdog you?


Yeah. Underdog me.



Here we go.




My husband's name is Josh. Ernie is my first born, he's seven. Elsie is five. Otto is four. And my son, Abner, is the baby. He's 2 and 1/2.

I remember exactly where I was. I was in this living room. I had a really bad migraine, and I had never had migraines before. It was so bad, it was-- I was throwing up, and it was pretty horrible. And I remember telling my mom on the phone, I feel like a shell of a person. I mean, my eyelids were drooping. It didn't feel right. It didn't feel like who I was. So I knew I had to go in and get it checked out.

My second brain surgery was at the Mayo in Rochester, and that's when they got a sample of the mass, and it was a tumor. It was cancer. A stage four glioma.

I had my care transferred to the Givens Brain Tumor Center, because if we weren't at the Givens Brain Tumor Center, we would have had to go to Rochester. And it was going to be a really long drive, and we didn't want to move our family for a long period of time. We didn't know how long I was going to be doing this.

It was important for us, for our kids to be going to school and not to have to remove them from school for ever-- how long I had to be treated. And we didn't want to be away from our church family. So the doctors at Mayo really strongly recommended Dr. Trusheim. They said that I would be in good hands. And so we decided to move our care there.

I did feel like I was in good hands at the Givens Brain Tumor Center. The nurses-- they would remember my kids' names. And I just wasn't another face. And I wasn't just a cancer patient, but I was someone that they knew and someone that they cared about. They cared about my life outside of cancer.

Jen is one of the most vivacious people that's in our practice. Everybody loves caring for her and looking forward to her visits. I've just been very pleased with the fact that she always tends to take a positive attitude towards what we have to do. Her activity level is improving, and she's just about done with our initial therapies, which is quite a relief for her and her family.

At my last scan, Dr. T said that less than 2% of the tumor remains. So we're all very thrilled with that news. So now it just feels like I have my life back. And there's no guarantees. I don't know how long I have, but I'm thankful for every day, and I'm thankful to everyone at the Givens Brain Tumor Center for helping me and for just being with me on this journey. 

Source: Allina Health Cancer Institute and John Nasseff Neuroscience Institute
Reviewed By: John E. Trusheim, MD, medical director of neuro-oncology, Allina Health Cancer Institute
First Published: 07/18/2016
Last Reviewed: 04/25/2018