Mesa grandfather fights glioblastoma, same aggressive brain cancer as Sen. John McCain

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A Valley grandfather and veteran wants Senator John McCain to know he's not alone in his glioblastoma fight.   Norm Drury, 50, of Mesa is battling the aggressive form of brain cancer too. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A Valley grandfather and veteran wants Senator John McCain to know he's not alone in his glioblastoma fight.  Norm Drury, 50, of Mesa is battling the aggressive form of brain cancer too. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Drury's thankful to be alive and spend Father's Day with his family. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Drury's thankful to be alive and spend Father's Day with his family. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
"It's just a day for being thankful," said his 21-year-old daughter Naomi. "A day for remembering the strong characteristic traits my dad has and how he's instilled that in us. We've come out of this such a strong family." (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) "It's just a day for being thankful," said his 21-year-old daughter Naomi. "A day for remembering the strong characteristic traits my dad has and how he's instilled that in us. We've come out of this such a strong family." (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Valley grandfather and veteran wants Sen. John McCain to know he's not alone in his glioblastoma fight. 

Norm Drury, 50, of Mesa is battling the aggressive form of brain cancer too.

[RELATED: John McCain's Cancer: What is glioblastoma?]

He's thankful to be alive and spend Father's Day with his family.

Last year, Drury started to feel a lot of pain.

"I just started getting very severe headaches, because my grandkids were climbing on me and using Grandpa as a jungle gym, and so I thought I strained my neck or something," said Drury.

However, that wasn't the case.

[RELATED: McCain’s brain tumor is particularly aggressive type]

"Quite frankly I was in too much pain and all I wanted was relief because it felt like my head was going to pop," he said. "There was too much pressure in my head."

One year ago, doctors diagnosed him with glioblastoma and surgeons removed the tumor a few days later.

His wife Liz was shocked.

"Nothing can prepare you for something like that," she said.

Drury is a VA police captain at the VA Medical Center in Phoenix. He oversees the patrol officers and is healthy enough to work.

However, the cancer could spread fast.

To manage or slow the process, Drury wears Optune, a portable FDA-approved medical device. It's connected via wires to pads that are placed on his scalp like a band aid. A battery pack creates electric fields that help disrupt the cancer cells.

Drury wears it for at least 18 hours a day.

"I’m thankful for each and every day that I wake up," he said.

There was a point where he worried he wouldn't make it.

However, he explained being a warrior is in his DNA.

"Every day you have to be a warrior and every day you gotta bring it. Every day is a fight," he said.

Those are encouraging words for himself and also Sen. McCain.

A few years ago, he met Sen. McCain while he was visiting the VA Medical Center, before both of them learned of the brain cancer.

"I think it’s ironic," he said.

Drury also credited his trust and faith in God for doing so well.

This Father's Day, his five children and 12 grandchildren are thankful he's still fighting.

"It's just a day for being thankful," said his 21-year-old daughter Naomi. "A day for remembering the strong characteristic traits my dad has and how he's instilled that in us. We've come out of this such a strong family."  

"Just blessed to have him. We feel very blessed for modern technology. Modern medicine and it’s a great thing that’s gotten us through this," she added.

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Maria HechanovaMaria’s last name is pronounced HETCH-UH-NO-VAH. She joined the 3TV/CBS 5 News team in July 2017, but is no stranger to Arizona.

Click to learn more about Maria.

Maria Hechanova

Prior to moving to Phoenix, she spent four years in Tucson reporting for KOLD News 13 and KMSB FOX 11 covering wildfires, VA transportation issues, and Southern Arizona's largest school district.

Before that, she worked for WLNS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Lansing, Michigan where she learned a lot about the auto industry and almost never took off her parka.

Maria also reported in Yuma where she had the incredible opportunity to fly with the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels and cover countless military homecomings.

She got her start at KPHO in 2008 as a college intern and is happy to be back and working with professionals who helped shape her career.

Shortly after college, Maria landed an internship with the TODAY Show in New York City thanks to the help of the Asian American Journalists Association.

She graduated from Northern Arizona University where she was also a member of the women's swimming and diving team.

Maria grew up in the Valley and went to Ironwood High School in Glendale.

When not reporting the news, she’s hunting for the best carne asada tacos or bowl of pho, swimming laps, or hanging out with her USMC veteran husband and rescued Shih Tzu.

In addition to Facebook and Twitter, you also can find Maria at @MariaHechanovaTV on Instagram.

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