Four years ago today, I underwent brain surgery for a golf ball-sized brain tumor.
The tumor was an olfactory groove meningioma. It robbed me of my sense of smell and damaged my frontal lobe. Just last year, in June, I completed 30 rounds of proton radiation to stave off the same tumor that started to re-grow. So far, it hasn't grown back again.
This year, I am especially mindful of my need to reflect. Today, I recommit to gratitude and to advocating for others.
Talking or writing about my experience with a brain tumor is helpful for others who are fighting for their lives in similar ways. As a person with a brain injury, I didn’t want to share my diagnosis for fear of being stigmatized and stereotyped. My neurosurgeon told me I’d have a positive outcome, but it was hard to believe that I wasn’t going to be damaged goods.
It was hard to believe that I’d be able to return to my business, my family, my life and live as I did before the surgery.
My journey to recovery taught me how to trust others and accept their help. Most importantly, I have a frame of reference for how to treat others who may be going through tough times.
At this time in history, many of us are wondering: How will our lives change given all that is happening? While I do not have the answer to that question, for right now, at this moment, I am focusing inward. I am okay.
My brain is happy and healthy. I have a good support system, and I have no neurocognitive impairments. I am alive and well, and I can continue to grow my business, nurture my family, and enjoy my friendships.
Experiences like health pandemics, revolutionary protests, and brain surgeries have helped me put things into perspective. Please join me in celebrating what I’ve overcome and how I’ve grown. Let’s help one another find the silver lining in all that’s happening.