Today, I walked into Yale New Haven Hospital for my six-month MRI feeling anxious and a little uneasy, because, after all, it is Friday the 13th. However, deep down, I was confident because I have the best surgeon ever, and I walked out the happiest man on the face of the Earth. And after eight long years, five operations and one gamma knife surgery, the stars have aligned and it appears that I am now DONE battling my brain tumor!
You pick the adjective – relieved, ecstatic, thrilled – I’m it. Today’s scans showed nothing, other than a normal looking brain. Sure, my neurocytoma might have given me a battle at times and it even attempted to break me, but, I win.
I honestly don’t know where I would be if not for Dr. Piepmeier and the staff at Yale. For a quarter of my life, I have relied on him as my surgeon, allowing him to use scalpels and God only know what else inside my brain, but he has also been a friend. He has supported me in everything I have done, including rehabilitation, my pursuit of my juris degree, my attempts at the bar exam, supporting my family’s fundraiser and creating a fund at the Yale Brain Tumor Center for us.
The gravity of this morning’s news has not quite sunk in yet, but I know it will. Ever since I was diagnosed and survived, I knew I had a new lease on life, but this news serves as the assurances I have longed for.
I am not a survivor, but rather a warrior. I overcame some very scary days, but I am alive and able to share my story. So, I am going to give back and continue advocating for the cure and fundraising to help the doctors and researchers who saved my life. I would never have imagined that I would take this entire experience and turn it into something good, or into something that I even want to discuss, but it is a cause I care so deeply about. I want to do as much as possible to help find the cure to brain tumors, and bring hope to the warriors battling.
Thank you family and friends for your continued support and reading about my journey – I cannot wait to see what lies ahead for me!