Chapter 8 : Silver lining

On Thursday September 8th, 2016 at 10:15 in the morning, I was diagnosed with a non-malignant, slow growing, 3.2 cm brain tumor. I will never forget this day.

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I will never forget how the doctor wouldn’t come right out and say it. As he sat across from me and placed the MRI report in front of him – I could see the written dimensions of the newly discovered mass. I will never forget how I looked over to my mom and nodded ‘yes’ to warn her of what he was about to say.

I will never forget how I tried to hold back tears – only to lose it as I approached the waiting room – the same waiting room I sat in several times over the past year. I will never forget how the receptionist reassured me that “this can be fixed, honey” as she passed me a copy of my MRI report.

I will never forget how I had to stop my partner mid-sentence when he asked me how the appointment went. And when I asked him to meet me at White Spot as soon as he can, I am sure he will never forget the feeling of wondering what I had to say. Or the fact that my friend told me that she will never forget where she was sitting when I called her on that day.

I’ll never forget October 20th – the day I counted down for weeks. The day I found out that my first surgery will be brain surgery. The first day I saw a picture of my tumor and how I was convinced that I was shown the wrong one. There’s no way that mine could be that big.

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I’ll never forget November 3rd. The day that I weeped and weeped in front of the neurosurgeon. The day I was overwhelmed – not because of the surgery itself, but because I didn’t know when the surgery would be. The day it took me almost an hour to calm down in the parking lot before heading home.

I’ll never forget the weeks and months that followed. The desire to hide from everyone and everything. The lack of energy to get out of bed. The inability to stop myself from crying. The seesaw feeling of this could be worse, but it could be better – is it normal that I feel this way? The feeling of being lost – because who am I besides a nurse? And as February approaches, I will never forget the day that I am wheeled down the hall for a 9 hour surgery to remove this thing that has interfered with my life so much.

And although I’ve had some pretty rough days, I will never forget what they have taught me.

September 8th taught me that I am not invincible and that it is important to listen to your body. Seeking medical advice when something doesn’t feel right is absolutely essential.

October 20th taught me that I can put aside my pride and ask for support when I am anxious as ever. It taught me to be gentle with myself and to learn how to say no to others at the expense of my well-being.

November 3rd taught me that I need to learn how to be patient and how to advocate for my needs. And even though I didn’t know it at the time, I have learnt that it is a blessing to have some time to prepare before surgery.

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Almost every day in between has taught me how to be humble and how to be brave. It taught me not to take the little things for granted – the sunshine, a beautiful view, time well spent with friends and family. It has taught me to embrace the healing powers of nature and capture it nicely. It has taught me that I have a great love for writing and blogging – and I have finally figured out two new hobbies that I really enjoy (I’m about to start writing a book!). It has taught me who I am, what I am made of – and for the first time in 30 years I can finally say that I know myself.

So on the days that I wake up feeling terrified, anxious, and / or depressed – I get up anyways.  I remember that each of these dates have given me strength that I wouldn’t have discovered in any other way. It has given me purpose – I never thought I would see the day that I get to respond to emails from people with brain tumors who are seeking and offering support.  And so now, when people tell me “there will be a silver lining” – I believe them – because I already see it. I have passion, I have purpose, I have authenticity, I have strength and I have hobbies that define me. But most importantly, I have courage to share the tough times with others in hopes that they will feel inspired, listen to their body, or know they can get through anything – and in return, it helps me get through anything as well.

Please share!

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11 thoughts on “Chapter 8 : Silver lining

  1. Awe honey…I am beyond proud your my niece…my family…my friend. Your bravery and ability to articulate yourself so well has left me breathless ..I’m praying for you ..your always on my mind….love your Auntie Bev ❤

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  2. Thank you for sharing. Your October 20 life lesson hit the nail on the head for me. I too was diagnosed in August 2016 after having some balance issues and headaches. I have a 1cm AN and will have my second MRI in a couple of weeks. I too have learned not to sweat the small stuff. I am putting myself first, which I have failed to do my whole life. Life is short, I am enjoying myself. Your blog makes me know it is ok to feel like I feel. Thank you.

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  3. I also have an AN, it isn’t pretty either, however it is behaving itself for the moment so I have slightly different challenges from you. But I understand the fear and the emotions surrounding what you are going through. I have known for 4 years. You have known for months. The word I use is discombobulation. It feels like living in an alternate reality. Good News, success rate is off the charts high. You will be great and us warriors stick together.

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    • Yea we will both do very well. I’m so happy that this surgery is so advanced now a days. Especially with my surgeon he is world class! But it’s very scary and life alterations. All the best and I’ll be following your journey as well!

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  4. Your post really resonates with me … I had my first migraine, with an aura early March and on St. Patrick’s day last year I was diagnosed with a grade II glioma. I will never forget this day or May 23rd when I had the tumor surgically removed. Follow up MRI’s have been every three months and never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined, what I was told was noncancerous but could grow to be cancerous, would be back in less than a year. I have another MRI on Monday to determine if a second surgery and further treatment with chemo and radiation will be necessary. I find myself crying all the time and crying alone because I don’t want to upset or worry my loved ones anymore than I already have. I’m so anxious and nervous of what the doctors will decide and so scared that this could take my life and take me away from those I love most, when I haven’t even hit 35 yet. I want to get married and have kids and I don’t want to leave my family … so with all that said, we all have to be brave. Its all temporary and we will fight the good fight until this is behind us. We will only be stronger for it, I am sure. Our emotions seem to be very normal, but cannot get the best of us. I hope you will continue to share your progress. Your surgery will go just fine! I know easier said than done and I cried like a baby as I was being wheeled off lol, but I recovered better from my craniotomy than my rhinoplasty the month prior, so I have faith in you! Thank you for sharing your story and allowing me to not feel so alone … it means the world right now ❤

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    • Hi Vanessa! I am so sorry to hear of the struggles you have been facing… it is hard to be mid-30’s with the desire to have all these things that ALL women want… we feel like life is on hold and “when will it be our turn’! so I feel your pain… and it is extremely terrifying knowing that something is growing in your head, and even after removal. may return! its awful.. but please know that you are not alone..you are stronger than you realize. think back to the hardest days that you have gone through… and that you moved forward from!! you will get through this too. Please email me anytime you need to talk okay.. my email is missdoumont@Hotmail.com

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