The Gift of Life

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March 4, 2014 - Colorado Springs, Colorado

April 17, 2002. I had just run home from across the street to get some materials for a school yearbook project I was working on with a group of volunteers. The phone rang, I answered and immediately wished I had not, as if it would have made the diagnosis disappear. It was my doctor telling me the recent MRI they had done to check on some persistent issues we assumed were sinus related was in fact fine as far as my sinuses were concerned. However, they had found a brain tumor. I floated back to my work on the yearbook, only later laying my head down and crying. A brain tumor. I wasn’t even thinking about such a diagnosis even though my maternal grandmother had died from one many years earlier. As happens in the universe when you open yourself up, angels appear and quickly I found others in my area that had also been diagnosed with brain tumors. They brought me information, namely that of the American Brain Tumor Association, prayers, and light and love. I began the research process, met with doctors in my area and ultimately picked my surgeon out in California. I had my late husband’s support in all of this, and off we went for our consultation on a Friday with tentative surgery scheduled for May 13. I had my 2.5-centimeter meningioma removed on that Monday morning. I was told the surgery would be a bit more complicated as my tumor was not in the ideal frontal location, but rather right parietal. It was a long surgery, but I made it through and by late that day I was moved into the ICU. I will never forgot that day in many ways, from the sweet little child I saw as I checked in who was being pulled in a wagon by his father to the earthquake we had while I lay in bed after surgery was over. I had never been in an earthquake before and at 5.2 it was noticeable. I was alive! I was released from the hospital 2 days after surgery and we stayed in California for another week to have the staples removed. During that time we received a glorious phone call telling me that the tumor was benign. I stood there in the art museum on campus and wept with my husband holding me. I was very blessed. It took a long time to fully recover from the surgery and returning home to a much higher elevation took a toll on me, but with prayers from many, my practice of meditation as a way to remain calm, and the support of family and friends I made it. Just some 2 years later my husband would die, and of course that was unexpected as well. We never know when it will be our time, and every day is a gift. I am so very grateful to be here 12 years this May tumor free and except for some lumps and bumps on my head consisting of scar tissue, I am just fine. I started running at age 50 competing in races, and doing yoga at age 51 and every day I am able to go out and participate in either I feel so blessed. The ABTA was my rock of first information and with support groups such as Meningioma Mamas I was able to navigate it all and come through. Thank you to everyone who made this possible.