Wednesday, July 12, 2017

It's Not Cancer

Brain Tumors are a big deal.  It's a lifelong diagnosis regardless of the type of tumor.  The threat of growth, regrowth, and new growth never goes away.  The looming possibilities of more surgeries and the recovery/complications that are associated with them will always be with me.  The effects from the tumors themselves on the brain and entire body as a result can be really debilitating.  I am lucky (so far!) The tumors were found before I had any changes to the brain function and I am recovering well. Cancer, though has a lot of PR and some people think the word "benign" really minimizes the gravity of the Meningioma situation.

I am one of those people minimizing my tumors and surgery to all who hear about my tumors and crani. It's probably because of the people I have watched fight cancer. Some have won. Some have lost.

"But it's not cancer. I will have to live the rest of my life getting MRIs every year. I might have to have more surgeries. I don't really know. It's scary, but I feel good today, so I'm grateful."

But I'm not in denial - anymore.

This is what I know:
1. A year of reading self help books and listening to podcasts to make me a stronger person in general gave me the mental strength I needed to have this "strong" attitude.

2. The best man in our wedding. One of our closest friends died from a 2 year cancer battle 1 month before I was diagnosed. Him, his wife, and son were/are our closest friends. The hole that is left from him leaving this world is much much bigger than the hole in my head (this is the reason I had been reading self help books to make me stronger.)

3. Had I not gone through death like that, I am certain I wouldn't have handled this surgery the same way. I'm certain I wouldn't be as strong. I'm certain I would have had meltdowns.

4. People who minimize any health concerns without being in the situation will never get it. Ever. They will say all the wrong things, but not usually out of malice. (Read It's Not Fair, Learning to Love the Life I Didn't Choose by Melanie Dale. - it's about grief rooted in infertility. But there's a lot of good nuggets in there.  I am grateful that none of my friends know what brain surgery feels like. I'm also in absolute awe of how our best friend (and another my age who died of cancer this year) laid there every day for weeks at the end of their lives feeling as helpless as I did those first weeks after surgery and knew that it was only going to get worse until it was over. How the hell did they do that!? Everyday I knew that it sucked but it was going to be better. I can't help but minimize my situation whenI compare it to that!

5. To anyone going through any health issues: You are stronger than you think and can pull more hope out of this than you even know. Look in that mirror and do your very best to smile at yourself and say (even if you don't believe it) you are strong, you are, capable, and you are worth all of it. Eventually you will believe it. I do.