2015 was a rollercoaster – full of ups and downs. Off the bat, the year began down at Yale for surgery to remove a recurrence of the beast and ended with champagne and dinner with Ashley. I was operated on a Thursday and released the following Saturday, a remarkably shorter stay than my first go-around. My surgeon and medical staff did another amazing job in caring for me and I will be forever grateful for their support.
However, things greatly improved thereafter. I returned to work just three weeks removed from my surgery and shocked everyone when I walked through those doors and made an immediate impact in my new role. Furthermore, I attended my first meeting as a Director of the CT Brain Tumor Alliance and found myself amongst a terrific group of caring and compassionate survivors and caregivers who understood “me”. As a board member, I had the opportunity to hear from various hospitals, doctors and oncologists about what they are doing in their quest to treat brain tumors and ultimately find the cure and it brought such hope to all of us in the room. It’s not common that you will find a non-profit Board composed solely of survivors and caregivers, but that is what makes our organization so unique. Together, with our Executive Director, we held numerous events in the state to raise funds and awareness, notably the Wines of March, Laughter on the Brain, Night of Hope and the Path of Hope.
Yet, with these “ups” came more downs. As I’ve alluded to in previous posts, the Connecticut brain tumor community lost two wonderfully dedicated individuals who devoted themselves to brain tumor awareness and funding. They will be forever missed, but our mission has been strengthened by their loss. For me personally, last year’s Playing for the Cure: Brainstormin’ held so much more of an importance in the wake of those two losses. And that is why I am so excited about the prospect of an even larger and grander scale event this year – to honor those we have lost, but to continue fighting for the cure to aid those who are still courageously fighting this disease.
My family, friends and I are already looking forward to September 16, 2016 for the third year of Playing for the Cure: Brainstormin’ at the Stony Creek Brewery in Branford, Connecticut. I will be sure to provide updates as time moves on, so stay tuned!
But where else am I going to go with this blog from here, you ask? Admittedly, I am at a crossroads. On one hand, I have used this blog to tell you my story and unfold the past seven years into words. Recently I received the news of a lifetime at my last MRI and I’ll return to Yale for another scan in May. I thank you all for being there with me in spirit along the way. But this is not the end.
I am going to put a new twist on things and offer up the opportunity for some guest bloggers to share their story, as each brain tumor diagnosis is not the same. Before my diagnosis, I did not know anyone personally who was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Unfortunately, I now hear about it more frequently than I would hope. I will start sharing with you the progress and happenings of my alliance with the team at the Yale Brain Tumor Center. I have been told that their doctors and nurses are all eagerly working toward creating new and exciting web content with me as their liaison, so this is pretty exciting! Yes, I said exciting – if you had asked me on June 30, 2008 if I thought I’d be excited about brain tumor work, the answer certainly would have been NO. Ohh, how things can change and how life can throw you into a direction you never expected. I also hope to take on a greater fundraising role on my own and in conjunction with the CT Brain Tumor Alliance.
I have found my passion and my calling. My parents always told me that “everything happens for a reason” but I never quite understood why I was dealt this diagnosis. However, I am certainly a better and stronger person today because of it and have found something that makes me truly happy – I have found my passion.
I look forward to talking with you all in 2016 and hopefully connecting with more people on an individual basis in a greater capacity. This is a new year and a new opportunity to explore all of our potential.