Six years ago today (November 24, 2014), I was diagnosed with a Brain Tumor. It was a total shock as I had no symptoms. Following the CAT Scan in the small community hospital near where I lived, I was admitted to the hospital to wait for the doctor to let me what he was going to do. Looking back I think it is interesting how when you are thrust into the complex world of healthcare – you trust total strangers with your life. No where else do we do this except in the healthcare system.

When I heard the doctor say – I had a brain tumor – everything stopped. I remember thinking what does this mean? What will happen to me? Who do I turn to? I was lucky, I had two friends/colleagues who came to my aide and who helped me and my husband understand what was going on and used their expertise to get me to the University of Miami where I got the care I needed. I know I was fortunate to have two advocates by my side and I truly believe I am alive today due to their help.

I remember asking a friend; how ‘did this’ happen to me? She said you will never get the answer to that question. I think about how I got a Brain Tumor often and still have no answer. It just happened.

I still see my hematologist, Dr. Lossos every 9 months. This is called active surveillance. The tumor that I was diagnosed with can reoccur so being watched is important so if anything does happen, he can catch it early. But so far – so good.

Six years later, I am tumor free. I do have some residual complications from the chemotherapy I received– but I have learned to live with the ambulatory issues as a result of foot drop and nephropathy. I also have cognitive issues that cause me to forget things especially when I am overloaded. I am retired from full time work but I keep myself busy with projects that give me purpose.

I am thankful to so many people – to my husband, my family and friends who were there for me. To the treatment team at the University of Miami – Sylvester Cancer Center. It is a different life than I expected – but I am adapting and feel at peace.

Thank you for reading my story and following me in my Blog – Nurses Advocates. Thank you for your prayers and for your positive thoughts – they have meant the world to me.

I hope you and your families have a Happy Thanksgiving

Stay safe.