Ayis's Story

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March 14, 2012

When I was young, I had dreams of being a top athlete and going to the Olympics like my father had done before me. However, all of that changed on October 18, 1988 when I was diagnosed and had a surgery to remove a brain tumor in my cerebellum. The astrocytoma was diagnosed at the last minute and as a result, I almost died in Switzerland. The surgery was performed by some of the best surgeons in Europe equipped with a brand new surgery technique. Although I was fortunate that it was benign, the surgery lasted nine hours and I had a 30% chance of living.


After staying in intensive care and in a coma for four days, I had no motor skills left and didn't know why God had spared me. I stayed in the hospital for one month and the long road of recovery had started. I recieved a grim analysis from doctors saying I would maybe walk in a year, couldn't swim, maybe one day I would finish high school. They said having a job or getting a secondary degree would be "impossible".


I surpassed expectations, with the help of God, I walked within six months, swam varsity in college, have a master's degree and am a teacher. Recently I have published a book of my life in the hope of helping people and motivate them never to give up in the face of adversity.


Today, I continue to have after effects from my surgery. I have double vision, nystagmus (vision moves with body movement), balance and coordination issues but I continue to fight with my faith in God. In the last two years my life continued on this roller coaster, but I met on the internet a girl from Spain and I am now engaged and living in Madrid after a year together.


Although my life is bittersweet because I never again played "balance" sports and I continue to struggle with my after effects, I have also learned a lot. I am less materialistic than before and appreciate much more the little things in life! I appreciate now much more the important things in life which are the relationships you build with people, friends and family! I know that with God everything is possible and one should never give up!