Friday, November 13, 2009

Beyond Brain Tumors

This week, I had the privilege of speaking at a healing service at my home church, along with my daughter Denise, age 16, a 10-year brain tumor survivor. I truly believe that our children are our finest teachers, especially those who face uncommon challenges. Denise has agreed to allow me to share her written remarks from the service with you here. Enjoy:
“Now and then we hear a story of how positive thinking and a good attitude can help cancer patients live longer. That optimism can keep us healthier and even extend our life span. Well, though some of us may believe differently, this idea is very much true. When we feel happy, we are happy towards everything and everybody. But when the bad feelings; fear, loneliness, or doubt set in we consume them. They influence our thoughts and our actions. If we let these feelings of fear take over our whole body they have the power make us sick. If I had put my fear first in front of hope and love, many years ago I wouldn’t be here.
When I was six years old I was diagnosed with a brain tumor called “craniopharyngioma”. This tumor was large and growing fast. The first time it was MRI-ed it was approximately bigger than the size of a golf ball. I was scared, sure. The morning of my first surgery I woke up and found myself tangled in my bed sheets and on the opposite side of the bed flat against the wall. I felt scared, mainly because of the things I didn’t know. What could and would happen. But I kept going through after the first surgery and then a second, and MRI’s and IVs. After the end of the second surgery I went to MCV hospital for 5 days a week for radiation. Every school day I left early, to go and get the pieces of killer cells “zapped” out of my head. Those last few remaining pieces of fear.
The thing that helped me a lot were the people that wanted to help me, to see me get through. Every day going to the hospital I would have a friend to ride in the car with, people I really loved. We would read books and share stories and often I would get little gifts J, so I walked into Radiation Oncology, Level B feeling happy. The process was long, tedious and intense. Most patients will completely lose their hair, but I didn’t. This was unexpected, and made me really happy. And that’s where I remember that I began to feel the confidence that I would be all right. And the fear began to go.
I feel that same confidence now. It’s only become a stronger part of me over the last ten years. Along with the help of the people, and surgeons and family, my confidence steadily grew, and I was cured. I cured me. I am ready to take on my challenges in life because I don’t think my small certain disadvantages can stand in my way. My only hope is that my family can fully see this in me the way I do. I want to go to college in less than two years and I know I can do it. No past can block my future - because I cured me. And knowing that, I can get through anything, anything else.”

1 comment:

souldancer said...

Moving, Inspirational, Candid, Giving, Courageous... With deep gratitude to that unique child of God, Denise, and to her mother.