I don’t know how you are as an individual but I was probably like most. I went to school, got an education, got a job, got married (to the perfect woman, BTW), acquired a mortgage, had a couple of kids, etc., all the standard fair that most people acquire some time in their life.
The whole while I was doing this, I struggled with my dreams. I knew I was doing the responsible thing by making safe choices, it is what my parents and friends wanted and aspired to, it’s what anyone who wants security aspires to. I had always wanted to strike out on my own but didn’t want to disappoint the one’s closest to me if I failed. Then it happened……I found out I had a brain tumor.
It all started in the summer of 2009. I was on a vacation with my young family when I bumped my head pretty bad. Thinking I had a concussion, I went to my family doctor, who recommended I get a MRI just to be safe. Nothing prepared me for what my neurologist at the time was about to tell me…….
I was diagnosed with an Acoustic Neuroma on the right side of my head. It is also known as a Vestibular Schwannoma. You can read more about it here. It is a brain tumor that grows on your hearing and balance nerves. When mine was found, it was 1.8 cm at its largest dimension and was wrapped around the facial nerve. I was advised to monitor it with regular MRI’s.
Fast forward three years and the growth has doubled in size (actually it grew to 4.2 cm at its largest dimension) and is now crushing my 4th ventricle and pressing on my brain stem. I was able to get a consult with a neurosurgeon, He tells me that what I had was large to begin with and now that it has grown considerably. My prognosis does not look good.
You would think at this point I would be horrified and think the worst. Well, I was horrified but I did not think the worst. I needed to look up the neurosurgeon’s telephone number on the Internet for a follow-up appointment and I came across a surgeon who specialized in treating such tumors, using cutting edge techniques. That made me calm. God works in mysterious ways and I took this as a sign.
I went with my new found surgeon! He removed most of the tumor and carefully unraveled what was on my facial nerve. Other than losing the hearing on my right side, I came out relatively unscathed. I am almost 2 years recovered and I feel great!
What I learned during this journey is that life is too short and too unpredictable for you not to follow your dreams. You need to have the courage to change and the best time to do it is now! In life, we get so busy we forget to stop and smell the roses, live in the moment and experience what you are doing. Before you know it, life passes you by and you might have a few regrets.
I have always dreamed of running my own business doing something that I am passionate about. So I quit my Job and started a business. It has been something I have always wanted to do and with my new found calmness, I realized that the only thing stopping me was me. I wanted to explore my passion for helping small to medium size business with all things IT. Now I stopped dreaming and started doing it! It took a brain tumor for me to realize this. It doesn’t have to be that way for you.
Has anything happened in your life that made you realize that life is short and unexpected and you should follow your dreams?
Photo by Jemel May