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Dawn F., Florida

“As a one-year meningioma survivor, I feel strong. I meet hope head on with a fresh view of life. I’m doing more, helping more, learning more, giving more, sharing more, forgiving more and cherishing more. Within a minute things can change so quickly— people, life that is what matters.” -Dawn

I Meet Hope Head On by going to the eye doctor for a basic checkup.

My older sister is driving me to the appointment because she scheduled it, and she is getting a checkup also. I say to her on the drive there “hold up,” as she attempts to bring her car into the next lane and she says what is wrong and I say there is a car there in the lane and she says “no there is not” in a frustrated tone.

In the small eye doctors examining room, the eye doctor says to me put your hand over your left eye what letter do you see. I was stunned. Darkness is all I saw. “I see nothing” I said. So after another test, I was told to go quickly to UCLA— my tumor was a meningioma, hence because of it’s location it had caused my vision impairment.

I was in Nevada, so we drove to California. It’s hard for me to recollect it all at this point, I was dazed. My husband was going to drive me there, and my daughter was coming into to town to be with me. I did have a few small seizures on the drive to the hospital. At the time, I was not aware they were seizures. I thought I was feeling winded or exhausted, and I would collapse but I would recover quickly so I did not make a big issue of the incidents.

I recall my wonderful surgeon and the staff at UCLA. I recall feeling very isolated , and thinking a lot about life, and that my life might be ending. I listened carefully to what the nurses and doctors advised but I was determined I had to live or try my best. I prayed a lot. The tumor was large, as large as a Georgia peach, and had also put pressure on my pituitary gland so my weight was way off for my normal weight. I kept telling the nurses “yeah your bed scales are broken or something.” My weight had gone from 165 to 214 pounds, and I did not even recognize this. This was very startling to me because I have been very physically fir and active my whole life.

My husband had become quite passive during the whole process. It was like he was in another world which now I know why. My daughter was only 22 years old. She never cried, and she was so brave. When I woke up after surgery I was joyous. I recall my doctor saying it went well and the key word was “benign,” but he mentioned something about not knowing about my walking .

My tumor was olfactory groove meningioma which because of his amazing abilities was fully resected. I still would not have my vision in my right eye, and no sense of smell. I said to my doctor “well yeah I am walking.” I was so happy to be alive. One has to walk and use the restroom to be discharged so off I went to walk that hallway. I thought I just had to make it to the end of the hallway and I did it.

The room was silent as everyone sat while I tried to use the restroom and yes, embarrassing as it was, pee shy not, they were all waiting in anticipation and I completed the task and as I opened the bathroom door they all applauded.

As far as my support, it was the hospital staff and my husband and my daughter. I was so grateful for the support from everyone.

The drive home was fairly easy and uneventful but by the time I arrived back in Nevada, I was unable to walk. It was like my legs stopped working. I could not get into my home and my daughter’s boyfriend got me into the house using blankets. Then I was able to get myself onto the couch. I eventually was able to walk again.

Well, It is almost a year now since my tumor was discovered, and I feel strong. I feel wiser. I feel grateful. I feel appreciative of the many people who helped me. I have had a change on my views of life. It is difficult to explain in words. It is just I want to do more, help more, be more, learn more, give more, share more, embrace more, forgive more, cherish more. In a minute, things can change. I am so grateful to be alive Thank you so much to all the doctors, nurses, researchers. Thank You!