Brain Tumour Awareness Month

Brain silhouette

There is nothing like a health scare to make you really think about what is important in life.  Just after I gave birth to my first child, I found out I had a brain tumour.  My immediate thoughts were for my new-born baby and for my husband.  I knew our story still had so much more to come and I was determined to be there for it all.  After my thoughts of them, came the “But I still need to…” reflections. 

Being reminded of the fragility of life made me really think about how I wanted my life to be viewed.  I want it to be claimed “She was a great mother, wife, and friend” and I also want “She lived life creatively and to the fullest.”  My experience with my tumour was part of what led me to start blogging.  Blogging, in turn, has kept me accountable to consistently stay on my creative journey. 

My first interaction with a blog was one I found while researching about my brain tumour.   Previous to being diagnosed, I knew nothing about brain tumours and knew no one who had one.  The blog I found (and its writer whom I corresponded with for a brief period of time) was a turning point for me in my healing.  It was such a relief to read about someone else going through this.  Someone else felt similar things to what I felt.  I was not alone.  That relief and that comfort are things I’ve always wanted to pay forward.

May, which according to Cancer.net, is Brain Tumour Awareness month, has reminded me of that responsibility.  In the spirit of the month I thought I’d share a couple of posts about brain tumours and about my experience with one.  For the remainder of this post, I’ll briefly share some information about one type of brain tumour: my type – a frontal lobe meningioma.

A meningioma is not a tumour in the actual brain matter but rather kind of rests on top of the brain.  It’s a very slow-growing tumour and usually benign.  As it grows, however, complications can arise as it starts putting pressure on parts of the brain. Signs and symptoms for meningioma vary depending on where the tumour is and its size.  Some symptoms people can experience include being unsteady or dizzy, vision problems (such as blurred or double vision), headaches, problems with hearing or paralysis, and nausea and vomiting.  

My first indicators were losing my sense of smell and headaches.  I was pregnant at the time though.  I just thought it was all part of the long list of pregnancy symptoms.  According to a few friends, there were personality changes as well but nothing drastic and the majority of people, myself included, never noticed anything amiss.  The big tell-tale symptom for me was a seizure.  At first, because it was only six hours after my delivery, they thought it was eclampsia.  The CAT scan the following day, however, revealed it was a brain tumour.

A journey was about to begin.

 ***

Please note: I do not have any medical background.  My information is based on what I read, what I could understand of what I read, and what I was told (as best as I can remember).  So this information is simplified times ten and is probably far from perfectly accurate but it’ll give a general idea of one type of brain tumour.

Some sites to check out if you are interested:

http://memyselfmeningioma.wordpress.com/

http://www.braintumour.ca/

 

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9 Responses to Brain Tumour Awareness Month

  1. Cath Hay says:

    Thanks for opening up about that scary time. It’s so important to talk openly about these things, even if they scare the heck out of all of us. Wonderful post.

  2. Wow, what a horribly terrifying experience, at the worst time. When I was a teenager I had a very rare cyst in my face. Nobody knew what it was, but they figured it was cancer. I only discovered it because I was losing sensation in my face. Thankfully it was benign. As a teenager I wasn’t as traumatized as you might think. However, right after my children were born, my biggest fear was not being there for them in their fragile state. I can’t even imagine what that must have been like. So glad you’re ok and really appreciate the info 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing. Brain tumours are scary. A good family friend of ours died of that when I was young. He was almost retired, however, when he had his brain tumour – but it was still hard to lose him. It would be even scarier to go through that when your kids are so young.

  4. Joanna Moss says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  5. Heather says:

    A friend of mine went through a similar situation with a brain tumour shortly before she became pregnant. So scary!

  6. salma says:

    I can’t even imagine how you must have felt Renata! It’s really brave of you to share your story and bring awareness of such a scary time in your life.

  7. Wow, how frightening! Thanks so much for sharing your story and raising awareness.

  8. I am interested to hear the rest of your story! As a labour and delivery RN it is so insightful to read about peoples personal experiences with major life events that occur around or during birth.

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