In the tides of life—and personal transformation through the unexpected with my brain tumor diagnosis March 18, 1998, at age 24—today I’m officially an 18 year brain tumor survivor. Alive and thriving in the present I continue to strive to reach my optimal potential. In connection with each of you, I want to share 5 important reasons why I’m still here.
1. Brain Tumor Research
I would not be alive without conventional brain tumor treatments, and none of that would have been possible without brain tumor research. A long list of people successfully impacted my survivorship, including neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, researchers, policy makers, foundations, and brain tumor non-profits.
Since I was diagnosed in 1998 working in Washington, DC, my inspiration giving back started with support to the Brain Tumor Society and North American Brain Tumor Coalition, and more recently with the University of California, Los Angeles, other hospitals, various cancer non-profits, and a number of other companies.
Support is paramount for brain tumor research. Last summer, Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) invited me to become an Ambassador for their amazing non-profit. I’ve known about ABC2 since 2001 started by Dan Case dealing with a glioblastoma multiforme together with his wife Stacey Case, and his brother Steve Case and his wife Jean Case. They turned their family’s pain into purpose supporting brain cancer research leading toward new brain cancer therapies and cures. Learn more about Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) by joining their movement with fundraising and other ways to support their mission.
2. Integrative Cancer Care
In the aftermath of my first awake brain surgery in 1998, I knew I needed help for my optimal health and healing. Through my 18 year journey, other cancer patients, practitioners, and study of scientific research, I’ve learned that integrative cancer care improves quality of life, cancer survival, and cancer prevention.
Integrative cancer care has helped me to survive and thrive. It’s important that cancer patients, caregivers, practitioners, and the public understand what integrative cancer care entails. Proactive pioneers and exceptional leaders who support cancer patients and transform health care and cancer care into an integrative model deserve recognition. My own knowledge, professional experience, and research allows me to help cancer patients learn about integrative cancer care, as well as create plans, teams, and self-care strategies.
3. Support and Gratitude
The more I live, the more I learn. Through the darkness and into the light with twists and turns, highs and lows, and lessons learned, I’ve received tremendous support and I continue to feel more gratitude internally and externally. Indeed, I very much thank each and every person that has given me support with care, assistance, and love. I receive your kindness, and I send you my heartfelt appreciation.
4. Hope, Clarity, and Actions
A brain tumor diagnosis rattled me into a lack of stability. In my journey, along with the ‘highs’ of feeling hopeful, I endured ‘lows’: heartaches where hope was shattered with the unexpected and undesired.
As I continued to cultivate my identity, I’ve explored the concept of hope to find clarity with an appropriate relationship and way of life. As the embodiment of hope with clarity continues to energetically emerge, I know that consistently engaging with informed actions is powerful. My improved relationship with hope and using many informed actions has invigorated me to really live.
5. Meaning and Purpose
From my personal transformation moving away from plans for law school and instead joining the cancer community, I know it comes from my meaning and purpose fed by intellect, heart, and soul. In the process, the journey has brought me to volunteer, work, and consult with cancer non-profits, government agencies, doctors, providers, hospitals, clinics, other businesses, cancer patients, and caregivers.
I am here—March 2016, celebrating my 18 year anniversary as a Brain Tumor Survivor—in the role of Cancer Coach, Writer, Consultant, and Speaker. Doors continue to open to incredible opportunities for which I am truly grateful.
My 5 reasons for why I am still here are only some ways that I’m alive and thriving. I must emphasize that I am here, and I’d like to assist you or your loved ones in ‘being here’ too. Connect with me for more information on how I can help you plan and navigate your cancer journey.