I don’t really know what to say when I see pictures like this. It makes my stomach hurt a bit.
But it’s me and who I am. ❤
As I have written before, July is always a heavy and rough month for me. Just because I ponder so much about where my life was and where I am now. You can read this post as a refresher, but basically I was diagnosed with a 5 cm. brain tumor in my cerebellum on 7/18/11 and then I had a 13 hour brain surgery 7/27/11. Then, I had another one a week later 8/4/11.
I know that people talk a lot about scars, what they mean, they give us power or strength to see what we’ve overcome, blah blah blah. I don’t really have anything wordy or eloquent to say about this scar because to be very honest: it just plain sucks balls.
I think the more I look at it, the more I talk about it or try to embrace it, it’ll be less taboo to talk about. I read this tweet a while ago that (paraphrased) said: You talk about your kids and your marriage and your job. I don’t have any of that and I talk about my brain tumors and my fear of when I will die and what will happen to me. I freaking love this tweet and hope you will be mindful of that if your friend has a medical situation they must address.
(NOTE: Many times, at least in my experience, just because someone has brain surgery doesn’t mean the doctors were able to remove the entire tumor. Please don’t just assume “Oh, they are fine” once they have recovered from their surgeries. I believe in some cases a neurosurgeon can remove the entire tumor, but that didn’t happen at all in my case. Plus, I have another smaller 2 cm. tumor that is encapsulated in my cerebellum. One of my sincerest hopes is that my life after surgeries and with brain tumors can help educate someone about them and how to better support us.)
I am glad today is almost over. Soon, or probably it should be already, July 27 will just be another day. I am working towards that….soon.
PS, if you’re on Twitter please follow #BrainTumorThursday. Thank you!
I created this teespring store to raise money for my living expenses plus to raise awareness for Cowden Syndrome and Lhermitte-duclos Disease.
Take a look at the new shirt I created just now!
PS…if you know anyone that creates artwork or is willing to donate their time to help me create more shirts, please contact me! Thanks!
I think most of the Internet knows of my financial distress – and to those who are important and trustworthy, I don’t keep it quiet. I do try to focus on the positive, yes. But, the reality of life with brain tumors and a rare, hereditary cancer syndrome is tough almost. every. day. (I’m not discounting the hardships other people face.)
But, I digress.
Trying to steer this post from being “too ranty”. hehe
Recently, I was on Twitter and had shared my gofundme link or had tweeted something brain tumor-financial hardship related. Someone reached out to me and suggested I get in touch with this organization.
I got on that in a hot second.
To be honest, it’s difficult for me to be positive (or hope) for good things to happen because my life doesn’t work that way. My life is hard. I’m alone. I’m managing my life as best I can but forced to depend on my family, which is limited at best. How I haven’t had to file bankruptcy is beyond me. But I don’t think I can put it off much longer, either.
Anyway. I contacted Mission 4 Maureen immediately. By their grace, I was granted financial help. Thank you Mission 4 Maureen! Thank you for what you do to help those of us living with brain tumors. And, I ask you dear readers: Please visit their website. If you do Facebook, please consider “LIKING” their page and support them in any way can.
I thank you sincerely.
I know I have the right to choose. My thoughts, my actions, whether I want to delete a social media account, whatever.
Most days, I try to choose the positive. I try to choose the happy. I try to choose the better option.
But today is not that day.
I am thankful to have this small space on the Internet where I can be me. No holds barred. Me, as I am. No filter.
I am beyond annoyed when people tell me, “Oh, you still have a brain tumor? I thought you had that removed.”
STOP. Just stop.
If you had made any effort to be a part of my life, you’d know my current situation. I choose to not share too much on the most common social media platform out there. I find it more and more comical that people choose to use that for the end-all, be-all, forms of communication. But, I digress.
Do I need to shout it from the rooftops that I still have 2 brain tumors? Of course not. But, I am not sure how to respond; rather, how to hold my tongue, when people respond to me in this way. I have found as of late that people (even some of my medical team) seem to be judging me. Judging me, or my honesty, in what I feel and experience every, single, day. If you’re not living my life, or choosing to ask me, if you find me steering clear of you, you’ll know why.
A brain tumor life is not fun, folks. The emotional strain, including financial, can be all-encompassing some days. I will just continue to gain strength to better able choose what’s best for me, until I no longer can.
Hi! I’m doing another t-shirt fundraiser to help me with my medical bills. But this will also help me to spread awareness for the rare brain tumors I have AND #btsm (Brain Tumor Social Media). Please consider buying a shirt if you can. This is my 3rd attempt as my previous 2 campaigns didn’t tip because I didn’t reach the required minimum order of shirts.
Thank you everyone for your continued prayers. I saw a neurologist this morning, which was a wasted 2 hours I’ll never get back. I will write about that soon. Good night!
A few days ago I tweeted out that I need to change my blog name to, “Headaches for Heather”. Because headaches. All the freaking time. And dizzy problems. Added to memory problems, and the list goes on and on and on and on…
I put on a good front most days. I have had 5 years of doing this so I am getting pretty good at it. But, I’m tired, you know? I am freaking tired. I am tired of having to “act like I feel well” when
some most days I am exhausted. No one sees me on the inside, no one takes the time to ask how I’m doing, because I know they don’t “really want to know”. Just the pleasantries. So I do the pleasantries in response as best I can. I am not bitter, just have accepted what now is.
However, when I am feeling a bit lonely (like I am tonight), I wish I had someone to call. I don’t write this for pity from anyone, just documenting my life with two brain tumors and a rare disease and sharing my story in my little space of the Internet. The reality is I don’t have anyone to call. No one to have dinner with, go shopping with, etc. And I have to pause and wonder why that is? I had friends before diagnosis, or at least I thought I did. Where are they now? Have I honestly pushed them away? I am always mindful of the things I now disclose to certain people, and even if others do bring up questions about my health I usually limit my responses (although it does depend on certain circumstances). So, that leaves me the questions: Did I bring this isolation upon myself? Or did those once around me leave because my life became too hard for them to continue to share it with me?
Today’s the day! World Rare Disease Day 2016. I had an idea of something to do at my local hospital today, but sadly they denied approval. Nevertheless, while Social Media is a great outlet, I still hope to do something else today. Stay tuned!
In case this is your first visit to my blog, I am living my life with 2 Rare Diseases: Cowden Syndrome, and Lhermitte-duclos Disease. Cowden Syndrome is caused by a mutation in the PTEN gene. Lhermitte-duclos Disease is a rare brain tumor called gangliocytoma.
My biggest hope is that with this blog I can help someone feel better. Either someone newly diagnosed with Cowden Syndrome, or brain tumors (any), or Lhermitte-duclos Disease, or any rare disease. That by sharing my story as openly as I have it will give another the strength to take their next step forward. You see, I didn’t have that when I was diagnosed. I hope to help it be different for someone else.
I received a compliment today from someone on Twitter (you know who you are!) that absolutely means the world to me. Never, in a million years, did I think of today – 4 years ago. I want others to know that it gets better. Now, I may scream, cry, and get on the pity pot as we are all wont to do, but I do what I can to leave all that garbage here and then go on about my days: Volunteering, working on-call when I can, etc. It’s not easy, but I try.
I have thought about PT these past few days and can’t believe I forgot to mention to him a few things: that I have struggled with fine motor tasks (I notice them. This may not be a big deal to others but I know there is a change) and I should have focused more on my gait as one of my concerns. And also told him that when I need to stand up on things (like when working out) that’s a big, freaking, deal. It really is.
So, I don’t know what tomorrow holds, or next week or next month. I know my next PT appointment isn’t until next week, which will give me more time to ponder about what I hope to do in PT. Part of me wonders if my brain can make these changes, neuroplasticity I think is the correct term. Can I? Is there too much damage? Was my brain scrambled too much to make any progress? Will the insurance people count minimal progress and any progress and give me all the appointments as approved? All this mumbo-jumbo insurance stuff always ruffles my feathers, but I am here to try.
Anything is better than nothing, right? I know I’ll have another post soon after the next appointment because I really want to document this PT journey. I know there will be some tears. Frustrated tears are just par for the course now. But, once I get the tears out hopefully they won’t come again. 🙂
…or, is it?
Have you ever had one of those dreams that grosses you out SO much that even 10 hours later from waking you are STILL getting chills? Well, I had one of those last night. I am trying to work it out, and my mom brought up some interesting points that I think are on point.
I dreamt I was stung by a bee. I’m not allergic, thankfully, so it wasn’t a huge deal in my dream. But, I remember it stinging. (Ewww. I’m getting the chills AGAIN as I’m typing this! What the crap?) I went to pull out the stinger and as I did I pulled out all this other crap, kind of like a stick or something. And, it kept coming. And, coming. And, coming. And, coming. It wouldn’t stop. It was long, thin, and gross. So, effing, gross. I woke up grossed out. I know I’m writing gross a lot. Believe me. It was.
I looked online and found some sites about dream interpretation. Here’s one I found interesting:
Another reason that you might dream of being stung by a bee is because you think that you have had a string of bad luck. Bees usually represent good luck, and the payoff of industrious labor and hard work. So when one of these positive symbols comes back to bite you, it can honestly be a little confusing. You think that despite your hardest efforts, things just have not been going your way in life, but you can’t exactly figure out a way to change things for yourself and it is really affecting you emotionally and mentally. Don’t let yourself fall down this road. Instead try to figure out how you can make yourself feel a little better. And change your luck for the better.
I am a bit speechless. I mean, come on. Have you been reading my blog for a while?! Couldn’t I have written that on the dream interpretation page about my life? Rest assured, I didn’t. But, I probably could have and titled it, “hopeforheather”. So….
I get it, kinda. I mean, I am working on many things to make myself feel better: Exercise, therapy, volunteering, learning how to advocate for Rare Disease in person and on Social Media. Mom said that maybe the “sticks” represented a type of “poison” I’m in the process of pulling out of me. Makes a bit of sense, right? This brain thing is going to be ever-changing, as is Cowden Syndrome. More processing. And just today I talked with the neurologist’s office and they want to refer me out to one of the big hospitals for further evaluation. Cough cough. So, this is my life with Lhermitte-duclos Disease. Process. Change. If I didn’t know how to tuck and roll before diagnosis, I better learn how to do it ASAP.