A discussion on the effects and challenges of having a brain tumor.
Having a brain tumour can both help or hamper, depending on perspective - a brain tumour brings with it a whole host of obstacles, but a whole set of learning experiences to cherish as well. It is possible to be jaded by it or to overcome it with all the positive strength you can muster.
When I was diagnosed with two brain tumours nineteen years ago, my whole world naturally caved in. I had the classic symptoms of imbalance, memory loss, vomiting numbness, headaches and a huge change in personality – the usual Queen of Jokes and Cheer suddenly became a morose, irritable nineteen – year – old. I could not walk, or even hold a spoon. Relationships I had with family suddenly deteriorated, with my resentful mum thinking that I was seeking attention by incapacitating myself. I was only rushed to the Accident and Emergency department of Mount Elizabeth hospital after a neurologist discovered two slow growing, gargantuan pituitary tumours.
Life definitely took on a negative slant. There was the need to stop my studies at Law School to recuperate, and I lost my Crowning Glory. Then came the ever present memory issues which hampered life and career – the inability to pay attention to small but important details which cause much frustration. There was the onset of Attention Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder – or ADHD – which added a lack of focus and short temper to boot and a great sense of being overwhelmed by responsibility.
Undeniably, though, the whole experience has been a learning one in spite of the countless, dreadful obstacles. I discovered ways to get round my memory, or lack thereof, with the use of the IPAD and the Linoit electronic stickies application which I use to write things down. I developed the strength of character I need to overcome life’s countless challenges, and a unshakable determination to persevere. I have discovered, with the learning journey that came with the tumour, the power of positive thinking, and the understanding that nothing is impossible if we are willing to overcome.