In September 2018, David Walther traveled from The Florida Panhandle to Arizona for another shot at adventure. The 62-year-old high school economics teacher from Jay, Florida was looking to complete a rim-to-rim hike at the Grand Canyon in just a single day.
David had conquered the 21-mile hike four times before, and he had logged numerous hours of training in preparation for this latest trek. But this time, something wasn’t right. The day before the hike, David felt severe head pain. He had been experiencing bad headaches for the past few weeks, but this time, the pain was almost unbearable.
He knew he needed medical care, and with the help of three fellow teachers he traveled with, David went to an urgent care facility in Page, Arizona. An initial diagnosis suggested cancer, and David immediately booked a flight back to Florida.
At a hospital in Pensacola, David underwent an MRI that confirmed he had a glioblastoma, a type of tumor that can occur in the brain or spinal cord. Headaches are one of the most common symptoms of a glioblastoma because as the tumor grows, it increases pressure on the skull and the brain.
David was advised to seek care at UF Health, so he and his wife made the five-hour drive to Gainesville. On Sept. 11, 2018, David underwent surgery performed by UF Health neurosurgeon, Maryam Rahman, M.D., an assistant professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of neurosurgery.
To read more of David’s story, click here.