‘Tis the season for me and it fills me with fear. Every year I have to get an mri of my brain and if you haven’t had one it’s like a claustrophobic rave party for one with an intermission and disgusting metallic-tasting injection then another rave party you thought was over. It takes about 45min and then I wait to see my neurosurgeon after the weekend, seeing if there’s any changes.
It’s now been eight years since I had a tennis ball sized brain tumor. Specifically it was on my cerebellum which they only discovered after I began losing my balance and had weird shooting neck- to head- aches.
It thankfully turned out to be dormant, an enormous growth that had stopped. And while I ran a Nyc marathon qualifying half marathon just two weeks before with only feeling dizzy, an even bigger shock to being able to do so with something that big yet seemingly unknown in your brain, was that even now no one can tell me why.
However, I am proudly free of over the counter, prescription and natural medicines because my body is vital, it’s functioning properly and as a result it’s symptom free. I still have to see my neurosurgeon this afternoon but I’m feeling good about it. Because my food and lifestyle nourish my body, I listen to my body and honor what it tells me, I see every day as an opportunity to grow in every way I can no matter my age, and each year I set myself a challenge where all those elements can come together.
The idea of the challenge began back in the icu immediately after surgery when I was asked my name, age, did I know where I was and the date. Now I don’t even know what the date is most days let alone having just had brain surgery but having got the other answers I told my neurosurgeon it was the day of the Nyc marathon and I was going to run it the following year. Which I did, with my hub alongside, in a Boston marathon qualifying time of 3.34! And the next two years. We raised over $20k for brain tumor research, my neurosurgeon being one of my biggest sponsors.
The fourth year we decided on a marathon of surfing instead and headed to Nicaragua. However on return having suffered third world bug effects, from both ends if you get my meaning, I was still feeling off. I’d also had a big bleed and done three negative pregnancy tests. So I went to see a girly doc also fearing secondaries as I’d been told may be expected.
Anyway a scan would reveal I was healthy, in fact so healthy I had healed to the point of procreation, 5 months so to be exact. It turns out my post brain tumor body hormones were not normal; they’re what I now refer to as my superpowers! What’s more he’s an incredibly handsome little boy! He may still be the best brain tumor survival challenge I have brought to my neurosurgeon (let alone myself!).
Fast forward to this year Where I set myself a challenge again. Having had a tumor on my cerebellum, balance is most certainly not my forte nor rotation, both of which are particularly harrowing for someone with a love of fitness founded through a love of gymnastics and dance.
But I knew I could step up to this challenge. Or rather drop in. I learned to skateboard, culminating in a line I was pleased with in no less than the Haleiwa skate bowl near Pipeline on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii.
Suffice to say I’m excited to see my neurosurgeon this afternoon. For him to see the changes I have created to positively affect my life.
Tune in next blog for Ways to Bio-hack your Own Health: we’re healthy to the level of our cells and food, movement and mindset can get you anywhere you desire if I’m anything to believe!