Brian rumors can affect anyone! And I am a prime example of that as I was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January 2016. This came as quite a surprise, as I have spent my whole life being ‘preventative’ eating a very healthy diet, exercising and doing all the ‘right things’. Apparently though, they don’t know why these things happen and there was nothing I could have done to prevent it.
My journey began in the Fall of 2015. I was having numbness and tingling on my right side for years, and after a couple of months of chronic and severe headaches, neck pain and discomfort (when chiro, massage and acupuncture failed to help), I finally went to see my doctor. He initially sent me for an MRI of my neck, and when the results did not explain my symptoms he followed up with another MRI of the head. It was thanks to his persistence that a tumor was found to be growing on my pituitary gland.
My first instinct upon hearing the news was to research this type of tumor, and when I did, I found that I didn't fit the typical symptom picture. So, rather than stress I decided to continue with my life as normal until a follow-up MRI was done to further investigate this 'tumor' growing in my head. In March I did a dye contrast MRI of the head. The very next day my doctor’s office called telling me I had to come in. At that point I knew it was bad news. Shaking I left work and went to hear my fate. It was determined that I did in fact have a tumor that was growing dangerously close to my optic nerve. I am lucky that it was found before any permanent damage had occurred as sometimes the first symptom experienced is irreversible blindness!
The next few weeks passed in a blur between telling my family what was going on (which was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do), and having a slew of medical tests and appointments with specialists. It all became real when I met with the surgeon and he confirmed that my vision was in jeopardy and surgery was the only option. I felt blessed to have an amazing team of doctors and surgeons on my case at St. Michael's hospital, and was fortunate enough to have the surgery scheduled within a few weeks.
I am happy to say that surgery was successful and I am now one year into my recovery. This past year has been humbling and I am still dealing with the aftermath of my surgery on a daily basis - for one, I can tell you the weather forcast better than any meteorologist! Despite not being 100% yet, it has not been all bad! I have learned to slow down and enjoy life more, and not to take anything for granted. I have learned what is REALLY important and to ask for help (I used to think I could do it all!). Experiences like this are life changing and make me appreciate the amazing support team around me.
My case has been atypical. First from the symptoms that led me to see my doctor to how I responded after surgery which has left my medical team searching for answers. Although I am healing well, it has been an eye opener to show me that despite coming a long way in understand the brain and the various tumors that take residence in it, we still have a ways to go!
I have had dear friends be diagnosed with various brain tumors through the years and have participated in this event on their behalf in the past, never thinking I would one day be doing it to further understand why this happened to me. I still feel like one of the lucky ones. My tumor was caught on time and is not life threatening, whereas many are not caught in time and can have devastating results. Nonetheless, this experience has changed me and will continue to impact my life for years to come.
Upon doing my research I was shocked to learn that 27 Canadians are diagnosed with a brain tumor daily and that there are 120 different types that exist. Another interesting fact is that the average person has 52 medical appointments in their first year of diagnosis (I think I surpassed that this past year!)
By signing up for a 2017 Brain Tumour Walk, I’m making a commitment to end brain tumours and to help provide help to all diagnosed.
All money raised through Brain Tumour Walks strengthen the national movement to end this life-changing disease and bring hope to individuals and families across the country:
Thank you for supporting me, and more importantly, for helping the 55,000 Canadians who live with a brain tumour today.
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