Making Lemonade out of Sour Lemons

Until March 14, 2018, I considered myself a healthier than normal 42 year old. I had run 14 marathons, I became a Crossfit coach February 11 (less than a month before diagnosis) and had run a 5k followed by a half marathon with no run training other than crossfit just 2.5 weeks before the phone call. After having a series of terrible headaches I was diagnosed with a golf ball sized tumor in the left frontal lobe portion of my brain. The doctor referred me to a Neuro Surgeon who got me in exactly one week later. The Neuro Surgeon scheduled surgery for March 30 due to my symptoms. In the meantime I was determined to live my life on my terms which included continuing to crossfit. In fact, a couple days after learning of this I deadlifted 205 pounds multiple reps as well as many other things. Determined to show this tumor who is boss, I even went to crossfit less than 24 hours before surgery.

My doctor told me to expect 3-4 days in the hospital but on day 2 after surgery i began suffering from extreme right sided weakness to the point that I couldn’t feel or move my right leg. After an emergency CT scan which showed occlusion of the vein that runs over top of where my tumor once was as well as stroke activity in the area of the tumor. I was placed on high doses of steroids and 2 days later I regained some feeling in the leg. However, I was unable to walk normally. I remained in the hospital 6 days and was transferred to an inpatient rehab for 10 days to learn to walk safely enough to return home. Sixteen days after surgery I returned home to begin intense outpatient Day Neuro Rehab Monday through Friday 5.5 hours a day where I remained until May 30 and then was transferred to traditional outpatient rehab. I am used a walker to walk while I relearned to walk in rehab. In addition, I continue working on cognitive function that was also negatively affected by this meningioma.

To say this has been a whirlwind would be the understatement of my life. However, I have taken on a “I will fight this and win” mentality. I may not have had any control over getting this but I darn sure have control over how I deal with this. From the day of diagnosis I have had a theme “sentence” that says “Take the sourest lemon life has to offer and turn it into something resembling lemonade”. That’s what I’ve tried to do. I’ve tried to show others around the world that you can either waste your experiences or turn them into some thing resembling ‘good’. I am determined to work hard at rehab to have a fighting chance at the life I once knew. I make no allowance for self pity or moping. I daily learn from the other patients in my rehab- all of whom are also brain trauma patients and have had their lives changed in an instant. All of whom are in the same boat of relearning what we once took for granted. It has been one of the most humbling, hard but beautiful experiences of my life.

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