It took me a while to learn how to live my life in between MRI’s. For the first two years after the craniotomy, the MRI’s were every few months, so I was literally living from MRI to MRI. Anytime I had a pain in my head or experienced dizziness my thought was the brain tumor must be back! I often forget that these are also the very sensations that are caused by some of the medications I am now taking.
Brain MRI’s are not a pleasant experience; they take a long time (45-60 minutes), they are very difficult for people who are claustrophobic, and to top it off my neuro-oncologist orders Gadolinium Contrast with each MRI which pretty much wipes me out for the rest of the day.
There is a good amount of scanxiety leading up to an MRI. When I receive the “stable” results I experience instant relief followed by thoughts of what now? What’s next? How should I spend the next few months? What difference can I make? What impact can I have? As an out of work–workaholic…this has often been coupled with a sense of depression as I am still discovering my true self and the value I bring just through living vs. through my work.
As I rebuild my life, I am constantly retraining my brain to acknowledge the simple joys that each new day brings. I am learning the value of balance and pacing myself.
The following Facebook posts reflect my willingness to dip my toes in the water as I attended professional meetings and tried to regain my footing:
Facebook Post 1/28/2016
As many of you know, I have dedicated much of my adult life to learning and perfecting various professional fundraising skills and strategies. The discovery of a brain tumor in October of 2014 stopped me in my tracks. In December of 2014, I underwent a craniotomy to remove the “golf ball sized tumor” from my brain. During the first few months of my recovery, I thought my life was over because I was an out of work–workaholic who had to relearn to read, write, walk, talk and drive again.
I want to reassure those of you who know me best that I am taking it slow this time around. I have learned my lessons and am grateful for the second chance I have been given to live.
As I recently posted, this week I attended my first professional fundraising meeting since the craniotomy. That was primarily to gauge where I am at this point in my recovery (and to hear Fred Ali, President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation, speak). I am so grateful to my friend and fundraising colleague Judith Carey Fisher who drove and provided moral support.
I don’t know what the future holds but I try not to take the little things for granted anymore. Each day I am becoming more and more comfortable with just being myself, a wife and a mom. I have finally learned that I am not my work.
Love and peace to you all. ❤
Facebook Post 9/27/2016
Went to another professional development meeting today (this was the third one since my craniotomy). Not only was the presenter (Jeffrey Wilcox, Founder, President and CEO of the Third Sector Company) amazing; but I was able to tolerate the lights, sounds, and crowd much better this time. My speech is continuing to improve as well. I had so much fear this morning and was wondering why I chose to put myself in this situation again–but I did it–and now I feel empowered.
I am incredibly thankful to my friend and colleague, Stephanie Milano for making my participation in this meeting possible.
#anythingispossible #thankful4thesupport #continuing2heal