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I can do this, and even if I can’t, I have to.

Published on June 22, 2018 in Share Your Story

My name is Ellen Moroney. My life has been forever and completely changed by brain cancer. This is my story.

It was only a few months after graduating from Colorado State University with my Bachelor’s Degree that I began having seizures. I had just accepted my first job out of college at the Colorado State Capitol as a Legislative Aide for the House of Representatives, and was just one measly month into it when the first seizure occurred. It scared me- but I moved along thinking it was just a fluke and I shouldn’t worry about it. Then, it happened again… and again…

After getting MRI scans of my brain, I was informed I had a brain tumor and the only way to confirm if it was cancerous was to have a brain biopsy.

On May 3rd 2016, I went in for brain surgery. I was more scared than I have been in my entire life. I was scared something would happen to me during the surgery and someone was going to have to make decisions for me. I was scared the surgeon was going to have to shave my whole head, instead of just the small portion we had discussed. I was scared I would wake up and not look the same. I had so many thoughts racing through my mind for the weeks and days before the surgery and up until the final moment before I was put under.

I woke up in the Intensive Care Unit and was thankful just a tiny bit of my hair was gone. The surgery was successful. They got the sample of the tumor they needed. They put staples in my head and I now have a metal plate over the part of my skull that was taken out for the surgery.

On Friday May 13th 2016, I was told not only do I have a brain tumor, I have brain cancer. I’m not sure why, but I asked my doctor to repeat it multiple times and to explain it over and over again. I just couldn’t comprehend it. I asked him to explain to me what malignant means multiple times. He kept explaining it means, “life threatening,” and “aggressive.” He said those words to me so many times, but I just was so shocked to hear those words that I couldn’t accept them and I needed him to repeat them because i knew I needed to before I left that day.

The tumor I was diagnosed with is called an Grade II Oligoastrocytoma.

I quickly began chemotherapy and toughed it out for a year even though there was almost no change in my tumor size.

So here I am two years later..

I have lost a lot to cancer. A lot had to change for me. I have lost friendships. I have lost pieces of me. I have lost some of my dreams (because I am realistic). I have lost some of my cognitive abilities. I have lost a great deal of my independence.

I have also gained a lot. I have gained an amazing boyfriend who is battling brain cancer with me. I have unbeatable friends who stand by me. I have new dreams. I have new appreciation for sunsets, music, flowers and animals. I have three golden retrievers that are MY WORLD that make me smile on bad days and make me smile even bigger on good days.

I have a lot to be thankful for. I really do. I have an unwavering support from my family.

I know this cancer will take my life if something else doesn’t get me first. There is no cure.

This cancer has put a fire under me and brought me to my feet. At my diagnosis appointment, I was told I would be lucky if I make it to 40 years old and that the prognosis for what I’m dealing with is about 10-15 years. Since I’m done with the chemo (for now) I gotta get the most out of this life I can. I intend to continue immersing myself in politics, learning about law enforcement, helping people with disabilities, going on mountain adventures, and reading about current events and crime.

I never imagined this would be something I would be dealing with and I’m sure my parents never thought they would be a caregivers to a daughter with brain cancer.

I am strong. I can do this. And even if I can’t, I have to.

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