Perhaps I stopped listening to the doctor after she said the words “brain tumor.” Maybe I could not comprehend what I was hearing, or how the words “cancer” and “brain surgery” could possibly apply to me. I had exercised regularly for years, and I had never smoked. How could I have cancer? The discovery of my brain tumor set me on a new journey through brain surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, spinal taps, blood draws, injections, CAT scans, X-rays, loud and lengthy MRI scans, loss of appetite, significant weight gain, fatigue, dizziness, vomiting, and doctor-recommended medicine. Immediately after surgery, I could not remember how to eat, drink, swallow, walk, or talk. I forgot the names of produce, people, and places. Social customs no longer existed. Speech, visual, physical, cognitive, and occupational therapies were essential.
Several years have passed since my surgeries, but I still suffer from memory loss and fatigue. The good news is that I no longer see inexplicable images, I am alive, and there is a reasonable chance that I will not die from brain cancer tomorrow. I believe strongly that the benefits of brain cancer greatly outweigh the detriments. If you are interested to know how attitude, comedy, support, encouragement, and patience could help you overcome the obstacles associated with a life-threatening injury, then this blog is for you.
I am quite certain that I would not be alive today without the help, support, and encouragement of family, friends, roommates, doctors, nurses, health-care advocates, drivers, and insurance providers. I am equally convinced that I would not have recovered (physically or cognitively) to the point where I am today without the guidance, assistance, and understanding of my therapists and the many people whom I met during therapy sessions. The surgical, medical, therapeutic, financial, educational, spiritual, emotional, and vocational support that I received helped me become the person who I am today. I especially want to thank my parents for their patience, understanding, and support, as well as my brother for his considerable and ongoing assistance in helping me comprehend, navigate, and progress along the confusing journey beyond injury.
Thanks to Pinky for providing the scan.