As many of you know, two years ago I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. And as May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, I wanted to share a bit of my journey again. And because it’s about awareness, I’ll share with you what I did wrong.
Most importantly, I waited too long to seek medical advice. Looking back, I started having symptoms more than a year before my diagnosis, possibly even a couple of years. But it was the six months leading up to the diagnosis that I’m going to focus on.
I started having what I now know were seizures six months before my diagnosis. They were partial seizures, which I didn’t know were even a thing. They affected by ability to speak first (I’d struggle to even make words at time), then my ability to write. I remember distinctly the day that I was trying to write an “r” but I couldn’t remember how. You’d think that would have driven me straight to the doc, but no, not yet. I was busy. I had responsibilities. I didn’t have time to have something wrong.
I was also having a second kind of partial seizure at this point, once where numbness started suddenly in my hand and spread slowly up my arm and into my body until it hit my midline and went away just as suddenly. Pinched nerve, I surmised. I’ve always had back issues.
And then there were the headaches. I’m a chronic migraine sufferer, so I wrote them off as that. But they weren’t migraines. They were much worse in the morning, when I woke up. They improved after I got up.
Guess what all these things are telltale signs of? Yep, brain tumor. The tumor, which was growing quickly and was 5cm when they found it, was pressing displacing my brain in various ways and causing inflammation in others that was causing pressure to build up in my skull.
By the time I finally saw a doctor (after months of urging by family and friends), she suspected brain tumor even though I had dismissed that as an option (you know, because of my advanced Google degree). She ordered an MRI.
The day before the MRI, I took a walk around the block with my husband. I could barely make it. My legs felt like I’d walked up 40 flights of stairs.
They took me straight from the MRI to the ER. The ER docs were shocked that I could still walk at all given what they were seeing on the scans. Four days later, I was in a neurosurgery OR.
Because I waited so long (relative to the growth of the tumor), I have permanent damage. Not a lot, but a reminder. I have permanent numbness in two of my fingers and memory recall is harder sometimes. But all-in-all, I was very lucky.
And I feel very blessed. I learned a lot from this experience. About myself, especially.
The National Brain Tumor Society says this about Brain Tumor Awareness Month:
The brain tumor experience is full of extraordinary darkness and extraordinary hope. The gray area that falls in between is what drives us, unrelentingly, toward our mission of conquering and curing brain tumors—once and for all. This #GrayMay, take action and raise awareness to make lasting change for the brain tumor community.
My journey has indeed been filled with extraordinary darkness and extraordinary hope. And I share this message with you in case you or someone you love is ignoring symptoms because they are too busy or feel like they just need to suck it up. Sometimes it’s truly nothing. But sometimes, it’s a brain tumor.
It’s always better to have answers. Answers offer hope.
I missed the first Kickstarter we launched related to that series when I was out recovering from the aforementioned brain surgery.
But I was fully recovered by the second one, and now I’m thrilled to announce that we’ll be launching a new one tomorrow.
This latest Diving Kickstarter launches Kris’ latest novel in the Diving series, The Chase. And it’s the book that Diving fans like me have been waiting for.
Here’s the synopsis for The Chase:
On the run.
After fleeing pursuers from two different missions, Boss and Coop reconvene at the Lost Souls Corporation headquarters. Both share exciting but troublesome news.
And a whole lot of questions.
But before they begin to even scratch the surface of the new information, they face threats from all quarters.
And when an old adversary of Coop’s gets involved, Boss questions who to trust to survive and find some long-awaited answers.
A nonstop new adventure, The Chase provides thrilling new details about Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s award-winning Diving series.
The Chase: A Diving Kickstarter offers supporters the new novel months ahead of its September release (in all formats, including signed limited hardcover), plus new Diving Pairs, special workshops and so much more.
You can check out the preview link here and ask Kickstarter to notify you as soon as it goes live. We’ll update this blog, too, when it goes live. You’ll want to read all about it, see Kris’ video, and check out all the fantastic rewards, stretch goals and more.
Trust me, you’ll want to get this book as soon as you can. It’s phenomenal. Don’t wait!
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.