Thursday, June 11, 2015

Halifax Spring Sprint 2015: You Make Me Smile

2 days until we walk in support of the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada.  This is my third year and how lucky am I to say that.  The day is always filled with amazing people with amazing stories.  It's also a moment to reflect and celebrate the lives of those who lost their battle to the angry invader in their head.  

Brain tumours,  they come in all shapes and sizes, classifications and grades, they don't care if you are young or old, your race or your gender.  They just show up, leaving you with no choice but to deal with the hundreds of different issues it can cause.  

This is why we walk, why we come together as no two brain tumour survivor are alike.  Research will help this, research can cure, research change the future for the newly diagnosed....research cost money.

So here is my link to do my part in helping future brain tumour patients.... so they too can smile at their efforts to make a difference. 

Halifax Spring Sprint 2015: Ms. Kelly Marshall - Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Time For Tea

I'm not who I was, it's a plain as can be
Sadly you don't know that,  as we never have tea

The women you knew who could fix anything
Is broken inside and it's not worth a thing

You see those who believe that all is ok
Don't live with a brain tumour every single day

I'm not as much fun, that I do know
I lead a different life with children in tow

No explanation or understanding is needed
My garden of friends has certainly been weeded

My door is open if you want to meet me
I'm not who I was, but I still like tea

Friday, April 24, 2015

How My Brain Tumour Stole My Heart And Gave Me Time

Its been 833 days since I had surgery.  833 days of "rebranding" myself.  One might think that rebranding is for industry and products, and this is true.  However, life events can force you to sink to your darkest level or rise above and rebrand yourself.  I've done both, and without the lows I would have never seen the high.  Rebranding comes at a cost, not financial (unless you include therapy) but a soul searching adventure that can literally cost you your sanity.  As I became more and more frustrated with what other complained about, I became bitter.  It's hard not to tell people to get over themselves sometimes.   We all do it however, we whine because our life is not as perfect as what we perceive our neighbours to be.   When we as humans realize that life is not a competition on who has the bigger house, car, or even brain suddenly gets easier.

So other then the medication side affects, a long list of daily medical issues, blah blah blah, what has my brain tumour given me?  It was time to find the positives in this.  So I spent my Winter on a roller coaster of discovery.  I started thinking of the good that has come from my brain tumour and I would like to share them with you.

1.   I have time to research, and research I do.  I didn't know how much I liked to read different studies, medical findings and facts.  Not just on brain tumours, but on the human body itself.  We are amazing creatures, we need to value that.

2.  I have time to cook, I hate cooking, but I now have the time if I choose to do it.

3.  All my actions are choices,  seems simply but it's far more profound then it sounds.

4.  I have time to be me,  I thought I knew me but I was very wrong.  I've started forgiving the me I was and enjoying the me I found.

5.  The biggest and most amazing thing my brain tumour has given me is love.  I have time to parent, to enjoy my children's milestones and help comfort and advise them in their hardships.  I am a full time parent right now and I love it, lucky me!

6.  Time.  Yup that word I dreaded and now I cherish with all my heart.  There is no one out there who doesn't wish they had just a little more time with someone they love.

So brain tumour in my head, thanks for giving me the time to appreciate the "loves" in my life.  We're stuck with one another so it's probably for the best that we get along.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Curry On The Brain

Today is a big day, I get to start Meriva-SR curcumin  I'm quite excited about this as I've been working with my Naturopathic Doctor (ND) to get my body in a healthy state internally to start this journey.

Curcumin is a major component in the spice turmeric, which gives curry the beautiful yellow/orange colour.   While beautiful to look at, it also has amazing health benefits.  The articles on the Internet are staggering, study after study of the cancer fighting and inflammatory fighting properties of this wonder spice.

My personal research began about a year ago when it started to sink in that my tumour was not going to just "go away" even if I opted for radiation.  We live in a world where we think modern medicine can fix what is wrong with us, or at least I did.  Have surgery, remove tumour, "get on with it".  Honestly, as crazy as that sounds, that's what I thought.  Well, that all came to a screeching halt, and after I got over my own pity party I did what I do best.  I read, I researched, and I dug deep to find something that would work for me.

So this is what I found:
  • Although curry tastes yummy and I do eat my fair share, you would need to eat A LOT of it to obtain the health benefits I was looking for.
  • Curcumin has a major anti-inflammatory response.  
  • Curcumin has antioxidant properties.
  • Curcumin crosses the blood brain barrier- do you know how hard that is to do?   The body is well designed to protect the command centre of the body.  Since my tumour is in my brain this is good news.
  • Curcumin has been found effective in helping to treat some forms of cancer.
There are hundreds of articles, but a common theme in all of them is that this spice is gaining recognition.  I am realistic of course that this isn't going to be one of those hallelujah moments of "I'm cured."  However, I am optimistic that with the help of my ND a better state of health can be obtained.  So with each little pill I swallow I will envision an army of yellow soldiers marching their way to my brain, seeking out that tumour and yelling CHARGE!!

photo credits:   Rainforest Herbs

Sunday, January 11, 2015

730 Days of Recovery

2 years ago today I was in the OR having my brain tumour "debulked" I was asked last night if 2 years felt like a long time.  The answer to that really has two parts.  Do I believe it has been two years since I've been off work?  NO, and I think that's partly because when your brain is shaken up like mine, your mind isn't really on work.  That amazingly goes to the back burner, even though its such a huge part of your life when you're in it.  Do I feel like it's been a long time floating around in the medical system.  Yes, a very, very long painful two years.  So in January last year on my 1 year "Craniversary" I wrote a post "365 Days of Recovery"  Today I repeat the blog idea, but with another year of reflection.  Here's what 730 days of recovery look like to me:

That drugs play a bigger role in recovery then I thought.
That having a Neurologist after almost 2 years is a good thing.
That falling through the biggest medical crack has hurt me physically and exhausted me mentally.
That my kids are still just as amazing, thoughtful, kind, human beings as they were 730 days ago.
That the word "Time" is a joke now.
That my eye ball will never have feeling in it nor will my vision correct, those days of wishing and waiting are over.
That you can still have headaches every single day.
That I have more specialist now and I'm grateful for everyone.
That there is a perception in Canada that you have to "accept" the Doctor/Specialist that you are referred to because our Health Care is free.
That not all Specialist graduated from the School Of Bed Side Manners, you don't need that energy as part of your Rock Star Specialist Team, choose wisely.
That these new drugs allow me to think more clearly.
That thinking can sometimes land me in bed from over doing it.
That MRI's are still hateful, and a warm smile and comforting words from an MRI tech can make or break your experience.
That on my 2 year "craniversary" I'm probably more hateful then hopeful.
That I never thought people I've never met in person, only through online support, would become household names.
That people who heal together, band together.
That I would rather own a condo or an apartment than a house.
That one of my true enjoyments of the day is watching the chickadees in my bird feeder.
That having a dog has brought me unbelievable joy even though he bit me.
That I'm extremely grateful that my brain tumour hasn't grown in 730 days.
That my tumour sits at 1.8cm x 1.6cm which is better then 2.5cm x 2.4cm x 2.1cm before surgery.
That there are still days I can't believe I have that blob in my little tiny pea head.
That my Radiation Oncologist classifies 2mm as growth, hmm not much wiggle room.
That once "growth" happens everything gets re-evaluated.
That I pray for no "growth"
That several people have passed away in my life which has me thinking about my own funeral.
That I don't want a funeral but rather a celebration of life.
That I'm aware of how "shockingly" good I look considering...umm thanks?
That as I remember things more clearly, it's like a kid in a candy store kind of excitement.
That I don't expect you to understand that.
That I'm no longer afraid.
That acceptance is a gravel road.
That the cold hurts my head and face.
That Tegretol has finally some what settled my Trigeminal Neuralgia, Thank God!
That I'm still blown away by people who "pop" out of brain surgery and carry on.
That anyone who knows me, knows that's exactly what I thought would happen to me.
That this has been the biggest lesson in human compassion anyone could have ever given to me.
That once again my problems are no different then your problems, mine are just in my head.
That if you didn't laugh at the above line you need more coffee.
That my kids accomplishments make me burst with enthusiastic pride.
That I wish my kids didn't have to deal with such big issues in their lives.
That being said they are the most loving, kind and well behaved kids as they know they are lucky to have their mom.
That my love for TJay has no spoken words other then he is the worst boyfriend ever.
That you wouldn't understand that inside joke but it is the best compliment I can give him.
That not only did TJay bite off 2 kids, but a brain tumour too.
That speaks volumes about the man he is for not "spitting out" that mouthful.
That I cherish this love and nurture it's growth.
That as I type this I get shocked to the face, thanks Tegretol for wrecking my faith in you settling my Trigeminal Neuralgia!
That loosing your hair can freak you out more then you ever thought.
That I get another new Doctor this year.
That I'm shocked to find out I was supposed to have this Doctor all along. (*cough* medical crack *cough*)
That I have a much deeper understanding for the medical system.
That I wish a was a Politician, no a Doctor, no wait a Researcher, to evoke change.
That I've started to ask myself after 730 days-at what point does it go from Recovery to Reality?

                                                                                      illustration by Phil Foster