I’ve been in a funk for a few years now, ever since I was first diagnosed with a brain tumor. I walked out of the doctor’s office that day in shock, holding it together until I sat in my car in the parking lot.
And I cried. Not just a little cry, but the kind that comes from way deep down in the soul.
This wasn’t supposed to happen to me.
But it did happen to me, and I needed to figure out how to deal with it. It’s been a deep internal journey since then.
I didn’t cry for months. Not even when my little girl asked me, “Mom, are you going to die?”
A long discussion about death ensued and I explained that no one knows when it’s their time to leave this world, so it isn’t something we needed to worry about just yet. Over two years later, I’m still here.
I don’t talk about it much, not at home, not with extended family, not at work or on social media channels. What’s to say? I know there are many people out there with blogs or social media accounts and they share every headache, earache, etc. And there are so many people with more serious health issues than me. Maybe this post here is a bit TMI, but it’s cathartic for me. This way, I don’t have to tell the same story over and over.
Last month I cruised solo and it was much needed. I had word just before I left that my tumor had grown. All that was left was meeting with specialists to take the next step.
I had already been through the stages leading to acceptance and had resigned myself to impending brain surgery. I knew that was the only option left. The type of tumor I have isn’t the kind that’s responsive to chemo and I’m told radiation of the brain is too risky at my age. I’ve taken all the medications my body can handle and I refuse to allow the treatment of the symptoms take away from my quality of life anymore.
I had a chat with my oncologist and as sweet as that man is, he even admitted there’s nothing else to be done besides surgery. Then was the appointment with my neurologist, who concurred and and sent me to a neurosurgeon. The bottom line is, my tumor has not only grown, but it’s also too close to an artery for removal unless things go seriously downhill. I’ve been given another six month reprieve, and I plan on making the most of it.
I’ll admit, this news is bittersweet. I’m not quite ready to have my head opened up and all the risks it entails, but it also scares the hell out of me that it has to stay there a while longer. As it grows, it gets closer to an artery. This means there will be an added risk when it is time for the surgery. Until then, I’ll just deal.
I boarded my flight to Vegas last week with a heavy heart. In fact, I almost cancelled my trip because I was that down about things. I didn’t even pack until two hours before my flight left. But I realized if I didn’t go, I would be letting Mr. Miyagi (the tumor) win. And I’m glad I went, because this trip to CES changed me profoundly.
I met up with old acquaintances and made some new friends. I got to jam for a few minutes with Bob Marley’s son, Rohan. And I was one of the lucky few media people able to secure a spot at the Nokia press conference. In the middle of all the chaos that is the International Consumer Electronics Show, I found peace and happiness with what I’ve been given in life. And it made me smile to think of all the unbelievable moments I’ve experienced.
One night I sat in my hotel room and the tears flowed again. It was the deep sobbing, like the day I learned about Mr. Miyagi, but it was also a cleansing of the soul. I had been keeping so much emotion bottled inside that it was blocking my creative flow. I’ve had some serious writer’s block since that day in the parking lot.
Even if the trips and fun projects end now, I’ve had a good run. I’ve done more in my life than most people could even imagine. My family is amazing and I couldn’t be more blessed. I know I’m not perfect (never claimed to be), but I do my best to live a good life and I have NO regrets. None.
Yes. I do have intense headaches every day, but you won’t hear me complain about them. Instead, I’m singing Coldplay, Adele, U2, and Kenny Chesney at the top of my lungs. And yes, I do cry a bit more now since I’m no longer holding in everything. And it feels good. I feel good. And I’ve got a lot more living to do.
If our paths have ever crossed, be it virtually or in real life, I want to thank YOU for being part of all the amazing moments that have led up to this one right here.