August 7th is a special day in my calendar and has been for the last 5 years. On this day 5 years ago I was hallucinating in the ICU after spending 6 hours with my head clamped to a table in surgery. Doesn’t sound like much fun, does it.
Going into surgery on August 7th, 2015 was the scariest day of my life and a close second was March 18th, 2015 standing in the emergency department in my pj’s being diagnosed with a brain tumour. The months that followed the diagnosis were challenging. My oldest son was in kindergarten my youngest in diapers. I was a mom to a 2 year old and 5 year old, first year graduate student and unsure of what the future might hold. Life was scary.
Today and every day I celebrate walking from the experience away a brain tumour survivor. Walking away was a feat in itself, my first walk (the length of a hallway) about 3 days after surgery involved my husband carrying my catheter bag like a purse, and IV pole and sunglasses. I will let you picture that because there are no pictures of that part.
My battle scars still exist, I have a nice 3″ scar behind my left ear, a metal plate covering the hole in my skull, and strength I didn’t know I had. I blame my inability to spell and the odd thing I think I can get away with on my now non-existent tumour.
Each year around my craniversary I challenge myself to partaking in an activity that requires balance. From paddle board yoga to rock climbing I have tried some interesting new things over the last 4 years, and this year I took the opportunity to enjoy an inflatable waterpark in Harrison Hot Springs with my husband and kids. While I still have rubber rug burn on my butt from the waterpark slides it is nothing compared to those first 5 days in the hospital.
After 5 years it’s time to close this chapter and move forward. To those still battling, you got this!
August 7th is the third anniversary of my brain surgery. On August 7th 2015 I had a crainiotomy to remove a meningioma tumour. I blogged all about my brainy experiences pre and post surgery, and if you are interested in the gory details they are all there in the BRAIN TUMOUR tab at the top of every page.
The meningioma that I called Timmy lived in the cerebellum region of my brain which is the part of the brain that coordinates muscular activity. Pre-surgery I had some issues with dizziness, headaches and was advised to limit my activities to those that would not increase my blood pressure.
To celebrate three years of being brain tumour free we went rock climbing, simply because we can. We all gave it a try, and some of us were more successful than others. I don’t think that I will be quitting my day job to become a rock climber, but it was fun to try.
On March 18th 2015, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour and it was life changing. I believe that no one should hear the words “you have a brain tumour”, but it will continue to happen. Which is why it is so important for me to support organizations like the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada that help those of us unfortunate enough to have heard those words.
As a brain tumour survivor I feel that it’s my duty to raise money for those that never got the chance. Brain tumours and brain cancer are nasty beasts so please join me in supporting this cause near and dear to my brain. I will be running the 5K on May 28th and I will gladly accept your donations on behalf of the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.
This is why I’m fundraising for Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. Patients and families need information, support and education. We also need more research. There are too few treatments for this disease and survival needs to be improved.
Every dollar raised by the Brain Tumour Walk goes towards these goals.
Thank you for giving and, more importantly, for helping the 27 Canadians diagnosed daily with a brain tumour. You’re changing lives.
For those of you that have already sponsored me, thank you!
On May 28th my family will be running to raise money for the Brain Tumour Foundation to donate please follow this link. THANK YOU!!
Two and a half months after brain surgery my husband and I went away over night to celebrate our anniversary without the kids! It was the same weekend as the Brain Cancer Got Me Thinking art show, in October 2015. I participated in the art show and was interested in seeing the show, but I also wanted to have a spa weekend with my husband.
We opted for the spa weekend, and I am glad that we did. We spent the better part of the day in a mineral pool and it was the first time in a long time that I felt relaxed. It also inspired the piece which I submitted this year for the Brain Cancer Got Me Thinking art show.
Ebb & Flow is a quilling (paper) piece inspired by our weekend away post surgery. Learning that you have a brain tumour is a dark experience. “Ebb & Flow” depicts my recovery from brain surgery. The large dark circles represent the hours spent in surgery and the balance of the circles depicts the good and bad days after surgery. I was in a state of constant fluctuation much like the ebb and flow of the tide. The colours used are intended to represent water.
This piece is part of the Brain Cancer Got Me Thinking show at the Visual Space Gallery in Vancouver. The show runs from May 3-9th. If you check it out let me know what you think.
As a designer I LOVE a good before and after makeover. Before I went in for surgery to remove a brain tumour named Timmy, I joked about my brain being closed for renovations. On March 18, 2015 two years ago today I was diagnosed with a brain tumour standing in the hallway of emergency in my jammies. It was the worst day of my life (hopefully for ever).
Today two years later I am fully recovered from my renovations and I must say that my neurosurgeon did an amazing job. He really knows how to use that skull saw, and drill! Because I wanted all of the gory details, I ordered my surgery report and read it with a much needed bottle of wine. Aside from the metal plate holding my brain in, and the three inch scar running down the back of my head I am as good as new.
Timmy took up residence in my cerebellum the part of the brain which coordinates movement. On my one year surgery anniversary I tested my cerebellum with a paddle board yoga class, and although I took a dip in the Welland canal my balance has never been better. I still can’t dance but I’m pretty sure my lack of dance ability is a genetic defect and not brain tumour related.
What I have learned from having a brain tumour, and now being a brain tumour survivor has changed me forever. For the better I think 😉 Plus I have one hell of a scar.
No makeover is complete without pictures, so here is my brain with a brain tumour and 3 months after surgery.
Historically October has been a big month for my husband and I. We met 10 years ago in October, 9 years ago in October I moved across the country to live with him, and 6 years ago we got married not once but twice in October. October is our month. We got married legally in Victoria on 10/10/10, which is a very convenient date to remember. We then got married in Mexico on October 28 surrounded by friends and family.
I have become a celebrator, I celebrate everything post brain tumour. But a wedding anniversary that is a super big deal. Being married is hard, which is why I think that there is so much divorce. It’s hard to stick through the “for better, for worse”times and still love each other. We have had our challenges but we are still making the choice to show up and that deserves a celebration!
Packing up this piece today, to send it to the “Inner Workings” art show at The Gerry & Nancy Pencer Brain Tumor Centre in the Princess Margaret in Toronto. Last year I participated in the “Brain Cancer Got Me Thinking” art show in Vancouver with this quilling piece which kept me busy during recovery from brain surgery.
On March 18, 2015, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour while standing in the hallway of the emergency department. It was an emotional journey while I battled with what it meant to have a brain tumour and the decisions that I had to make as a result. On August 7th, 2015, I had surgery to remove the tumour.
Learning that you have a brain tumour is a dark experience. Having a brain tumour is not something that we patients do alone, we need life guards and beacons of light in the storm. One of the people that brought me light was my neurosurgeon. He was patient, kind and gave me hope. I also see him as a life guard who protected me through surgery. I dedicate this photo to him, and as I no longer need his services there is no longer a life guard on duty.
“A Light in the Storm” is my entry to the “Inner Workings” show.
On August 7th 2015 I went into the hospital to have a meningioma tumour removed from my brain. The experience was no picnic, but I survived and a year later I am thriving. I blogged all about my brainy experiences pre and post surgery, and if you are interested in the gory details they are all there in the BRAIN TUMOUR tab at the top of every page.
I celebrated the one-year anniversary of having my skull cut open and Timmy the tumour extracted, on August 7th, 2016. It was a monumental occasion for me and one that I am thrilled to be able to celebrate. Timmy the tumour lived in the cerebellum region of my brain which is the part of the brain that coordinates muscular activity. Pre-surgery I had some issues with dizziness, headaches and was advised to limit my activities to those that would not increase my blood pressure. I also had to keep my wine intake to a minimum as my balance wasn’t exactly ideal.
After the first disastrous camping trip three years ago, I didn’t have it in me to try for a second time. When my husband decided to give it another go I wimped out and took our not quite 2-year-old home to sleep at night. Last year I used the “I have a brain tumour” excuse (which got me out of just about everything that I didn’t want to do) and we didn’t go. This year I took one for the family, pulled up my big girl panties and went camping.
Thank you to all of the people that donated to our walk for the Brain Tumour Foundation. My husband, son who requested donations in lieu of gifts for his 7th birthday and I raised a combined total of $2,395. We walked/ran the 5K route around the University of Victoria yesterday. I ran it with my 7-year-old trainer, while my husband walked with our 3 year old. It was an emotional day as I remembered where I was last year for the walk. Last year I had been recently diagnosed and was in the process of learning about treatment. I could not run because it caused a great amount of pain in my head. However, this year I proudly wore the blue survivor shirt and ran most of the 5K with my seven year old.