A Brain Tumor--what??!!

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October 11, 2017 - Jessup, Maryland

I didn't know that I couldn't smell until my family and I went on vacation and everyone but me complained about the smell in the van. I had an awful headache but didn't think about it. Fast forward to 2011, I visited my allergist and was telling him that I can't smell. He referred me for an MRI and called me a few days later to share that there was a tumor on my frontal lobe. I was in the middle of planning a big event for work; so I waited until it was over to say anything to anyone. The allergist gave me the name of a surgeon and suggested that I contact him immediately. I guess I was in denial and stunned because no one in my family has ever had a tumor or anything like it. When I told my children, they cried and my mom blamed herself (she believed it was something she had done when I was an infant) for causing it. I learned I had a meningioma that was 4 cm large. The brain surgeon said that since we didn't know how long I had had it or what the rate of growth was; he wanted to remove it quickly. I told him that I had a trip planned and didn't want to have the surgery until I returned. He told me that I may not be around to travel if it wasn't removed within the next 30 days. My 5 hour surgery was completed with no complications and I was released to go home after two days. I spent another 30 days recuperating (sleeping, pain killers, seclusion in my bedroom). I couldn't watch TV or have bright lights the glare was too much. I returned to work exactly 30 days after my surgery and initially struggled with feelings of inadequacy and having problems getting words out that were formulated in my brain. My eldest daughter suggested word games on my phone which helped tremendously. My family drove me back and forth to work until the doctor cleared me to drive. Even then, I was hesitant to do so. Now, when I get tired and overdo it my words become jumbled and that's my cue to rest. I had follow-up appointments with the surgeon for almost two years. I was 49 years old at the time. I'm thankful to be here today and wanted to share my story.