All I could think of was the 8 years we lived with my mom deteriorating in the late 80's, early 90's from her brain tumor. I did not want to live like that.
I know that it sounds crazy, but if God had not blessed me with a brain tumor, I would not know the things that I know today. I would not have the courage to live every day as if were my last. I know now what really matters in life.
Nearly six years ago, my wife drove me to the emergency room where eventually I was diagnosed with a glioblastoma tumor. This was the culmination of 10 months of ignoring a series of subtle symptoms that nearly cost my life.
A week before Christmas 2010, I had a full on seizure leading to my diagnosis of a brain tumor. Nothing in my life before that night ever gave me an indication of this. A month later in Seattle, I underwent a debulking surgery that removed roughly forty percent of my tumor.
Was it easy?....Heck no! I was tired, sick to my stomach, and down right scared. I was also angry....very angry. I had to believe, believe that this could work, and that I would live.
I thought I would share my story because it is one that has a happy ending, and shows that being persistent is important!
I was twenty-three years old when I found out I had an acoustic neuroma. After a month in the hospital and two thirteen hour surgeries later, they removed it all.
It’s been a very long road so far. I’ve really had to learn patience. I like to focus on what I can do, and then just extend on that. But in terms of keeping my spirits up, I don’t like to look behind me. I’m always looking forward. The main thing is if you think you can do it, the only thing limiting you is yourself.
On June 17, 2004 my 13 year-old daughter, Marci, woke up complaining of pain in the right side of her head. By the time I realized I needed to call 911, she suffered a massive stroke on her bedroom floor, in my arms.
As the rains of hurricane season arrived in Southern New England, I thought I might be getting a sinus infection. Three courses of antibiotics failed to provide relief and a CT scan was ordered. I was cleaning a flooded basement while waiting for results. Four days before Christmas in 2005, the MRI came in as a meningioma tumor.
I have learned to keep a positive attitude and try to make the best of things.
It began with the headaches. In November 2004 I started having terrible, deep-throb, pounders, ones that would actually wake me up in the middle of the night.
October 21, 2010 landed me in the emergency room at Harris Hospital after experiencing double vision and an occasional loss of balance over a period of 3 weeks. After meeting with the ER doctor, it was decided that an MRI was in order. Upon returning to my room from the X-ray, my husband of 26 years, my 23 year-old daughter, and I were told that I had a large mass in my brain.
As a young girl my dad taught me hope. He showed me how to survive in this world. He taught me how to fight for what I believed in and to follow my dreams; no matter how big or small - with dedication, passion, and courage they could be fulfilled.
My big brother, John, was diagnosed with a GBM on January 14, 2009. We should've known something was wrong, but he was single and lived alone.
My prognosis was not good back in October 1997, but by choosing the treatments "I" felt were right for me - I am still here today.
Our experience with brain cancer was short. My mom had been suffering with weakness in her right arm, the inability to write, and difficulty walking. Since she had polio as a child, and already had difficulty walking, nobody thought about a brain tumor.
My brain tumor was a central neurocytoma. It was only recognized by the health care industry as an official brain tumor in the 1980s. Since then, approximately 100 people have been cursed with this tumor and I am one of them.
Since my first surgery I have hiked to the top of Mt. Whitney and Half Dome, gone white water rafting and hang gliding, learned to rock climb and ride a motorcycle, got married, and had a beautiful son that I never thought I could have.
It has been six years since diagnosis. I have dedicated my life to helping those going through cancer or caring for someone going through cancer. There is so much that a person like myself can do to help.
The views and opinions expressed within the NBTS Story Corner do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Brain Tumor Society.