Roslyn Singleton was in Afghanistan, working as an executive administrative assistant in the field of defense, when she learned that her mother had died unexpectedly. Then, just two months later, Roslyn faced more difficult family news when her father was diagnosed with cancer. Between grief and worry, it was a lot happening at once, so Roslyn wasn’t surprised when she started to develop painful headaches that kept her awake at night.
“Initially, I thought it was stress,” recalled Roslyn, who now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
However, over the next several months, Roslyn started to develop worsening symptoms that didn’t match up with any headaches she had experienced before.
“I would lie down to go to sleep and… you know how you put a seashell to your ear and you can hear the ocean?” she said. “I could hear the ocean when I lay down.”
Floating dots appeared in her vision, and the pain in her head kept getting worse. Medics gave her strong prescription pain medicine, but she wasn’t getting any relief.
During a brief period of leave in South Carolina, Roslyn sought further medical treatment and received a diagnosis that explained her strange symptoms: brain cancer. Since then, she has had multiple surgeries and treatments, but her cancer has returned. Initially diagnosed with a different form of brain cancer, Roslyn now has stage 4 glioblastoma (GBM).
Although the news of cancer recurrence can be difficult to accept, Roslyn draws strength from her faith.
“I believe God is really great and has been really great in my life, and I know that he’s in control of everything,” Roslyn said.
Roslyn, who served as a Navy Yeoman for eight years, including two tours in Iraq on nuclear carriers, is now retired from both the military and her civilian career.
She has also slowed down work on her side hustle as a stylist, helping clients find clothes that make them look and feel great. It’s a gig she picked up shortly after her mother’s sudden passing.
“I think that it was just my way to deal with grief and my way to process that huge loss,” she said.
Over the years, Roslyn has worked with a range of people looking to upgrade their style, from adults who want a work wardrobe refresh to teens seeking a look for the prom. She enjoys putting her own outfits together, too, especially when she creates unexpected combinations.
“I like to wear different things,” Roslyn said. “I like colors. I like to mix and match patterns like polka dots and stripes, or put a houndstooth jacket on with some horizontal stripe pants.”
Roslyn also enjoys staying active. For years, she played basketball, softball and volleyball, and before the COVID-19 pandemic, she enjoyed going out to arcades, bowling alleys and golf courses. She now enjoys riding motorcycles, even though her husband and her father disapprove.
“I’m a sporty, athletic girl that also likes to watch Snapped on Oxygen,” she said.
She also takes time to spread positivity by visiting a local school and reading to children, imparting lessons about treating everyone with kindness and respect. The classroom visits help her feel better, too.
“I feel that the healing power that kids have is, like, you can’t buy it,” she said.
Her partner through it all is her husband Ray, a real estate agent and singer who appeared on “America’s Got Talent” in 2021. The couple appeared on “The Ellen Show” in 2020 after a video of Ray singing to Roslyn before surgery went viral.
Roslyn accompanies Ray to their church, where he’s the minister of music, and is his date to many local weddings where he shares his talents. The couple also enjoys traveling to Charleston, South Carolina, and Las Vegas, where they have family.
Roslyn’s family and faith keep her going.
“As hard a diagnosis as this may be to accept and to even live with and deal with every day, there is something that all of us fighting with GBM can find comfort in,” she said.
For Roslyn, she finds that relief when she watches her father stay positive in the face of his own health challenges.
“I just would encourage anybody fighting GBM to know as hard as it may be there is a happy place or a happy person somewhere that can bring you comfort to let you know, yeah, if you keep going through this, then you can fight,” she said.
The health status of patients featured reflects their condition at the time the story was written and photographs were taken and may have changed over time.