Why I walk? The Brain Tumor walk is quickly approaching and I am so excited to gather a team and raise not only money for further research, but awareness of brain tumors and cancer overall. I never thought for a second that this would be my journey. My entire life I have always strived to do my best and be the best pushing myself to the edge and striving to reach higher, push further, and accomplish greater. Rolling into 2014, I felt that I had it all figured out. I was a full time working wife and mom continuing to climb that corporate ladder, serving with my church, volunteering in my community and children’s school, remaining physically fit. I was always striving to find that perfect balance. I had never planned after coming off a personal best year to downward spiral and experience a huge brain fog, unable to keep up with the work load, constantly tired, and overwhelmed in the basics of my job and life. Moving into a part time roll at work in early 2015, I thought I this change would help to balance life and have me more available for my family. Running and working out quickly became a physical challenge verses a source of enjoyment. Then the headaches quickly set in. Not being a migraine sufferer, nor having a history of headaches, I figured this was stress and the inability to find that perfect life balance. One migraine headache followed by just a couple more lead me to seek guidance from my general practitioner. I figured 40 is right around the corner, so perhaps this is hormonal but nevertheless…let’s check with the experts. He immediately referred me to a neurologist specializing in migraines and pain management.
After my first visit, this neurologist didn’t feel comfortable with what I was experiencing, and suggested further tests. I am so grateful for that quiet voice saying this is just not adding up…because the MRI results discovered a golf ball-sized tumor in the right temporal lobe of my brain. Shock does not cover the emotions felt when the news was shared with my husband and I. To see an image of your own brain on a huge screen, and literally staring at a golf ball…taking up a large amount of real-estate on the right hemisphere, just did not seem realistic. Tears quickly fell from our eyes as the doctor explained this was likely the reason for the sudden onset of migraine headaches.
We were given not only a quick lesson in seizure awareness, and how to handle the onset of one, but a referral to a neurosurgeon to have this tumor further examined and removed. Within a week, I not only met with Dr. Duma but had a craniotomy scheduled by the end of the appointment. This “unwelcomed” guest needed to be removed sooner then later. Thankfully, that was the protocol because only 3 days later we were told that the tumor removed from my brain was a grade 4 glioblastoma (GBM). CANCER became my new challenge to conquer.
This past year has been fought with “almighty strength”. I have been surrounded by a community, family and friends who have fueled and supported my family every step of the way. My faith was strong going in, but has only become stronger. From the moment we heard the word “tumor”, I knew this was much bigger then I could ever possibly handle. I released everything over to God…all of the worry, stress, fear, and anxiety. My fight and battle has been nothing but positive because of my faith. I have certainly found that balance I always craved, and have learned that this life is not to be lived on my own, but hand in hand with God. I see the simple joy in life, and appreciate the everyday gift and fight with a power much greater then I can find from within. Living this journey out loud has introduced me to many with similar stories. Some that are striving, fighting, and have been victorious in their battle against cancer. I have also met others that are filled with discouragement and fear.
I not only walk in celebration of the miracles God is doing in my life, but I walk for those who are in this battle along with me, those who are filled with fear, and those that will someday discover a brain tumor of their own. Together we can do this, together we can make a difference. This walk allows me to cast my nets further, reach more people and bring more awareness to this brain tumor and cancer community. Let’s find a cure, and show cancer they are messing with the wrong people.