Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Do you remember what you were doing exactly ten years ago, July 2, 2008?  I do.

It was 8:00a.m. and I was awake and alert, greeted by the surgical team, nurses, anesthesiologists and clinicians, as well as my family.  The day before, I learned that the cause of my double vision was a massive tumor sitting in the ventricles of my brain, complicated by hydrocephalus requiring surgery immediately.  As the preparation wrapped up, the clock turned to just about 9:00 and my family and I said our emotional goodbyes as I was rolled into the OR, but I remained confident.  When I would wake up, my life would change forever.  But how?

Admittedly, I never thought I’d say this, but this has been the best roller coaster ride I’ve ever been on.  Reflecting on the past decade, I’ve learned a lot about myself, but also about faith, perseverance and adversity.  In the darkest of times, I felt alone, scared and defeated – wondering when my life would take a turn for the better.

Now, exactly ten years later, I am turning to a new chapter in life as I say goodbye to my colleagues at the United Way and embark on the journey at the helm of the CT Brain Tumor Alliance, Inc. as the Executive Director.

More than ever, it is clear that this path happened for a reason and I am so grateful for my newfound appreciation for life and I live every day to the fullest.  So, for today, I would like to simply say “thank you” to everyone who has played a part of my life these past ten years.

Mom and Dad; Jackie, Wayne and Stephen; Ashley; my extended family and friends; my partners in this quest to find the cure; my friends and colleagues at the CTBTA; and last but not least, Dr. Piepmeier, my nurses, clinicians and therapists – THANK YOU.  Without each of you, I’d be lost at sea.

I am eager and excited to begin this journey to make Connecticut a center of excellence in brain tumor care.  I am honored and humbled, and look forward to working with the Board in my new role, deepening relationships, as well as building new ones, assisting patients and families as they adjust the sails, as well as supporting the endeavors that will be undertaken to make a brain tumor diagnosis less scary and ultimately, help find the cure.

For the past ten years, I have searched for the meaning behind all of this, and I am excited for this new beginning.  First things first though, a trip to Newport and Bristol, the place where this adventure began.

3 thoughts on “Celebrate Good Times, Come On!”

  1. Hi Chris,
    Yes, I remember what I was doing – recovering from 2 brain surgeries.
    I had a craniotomy to remove a meningioma in my cerebellum on 6/23/08 at Yale. The tumor was benign. Of course, we know that no brain tumor is really benign. I also had a blood clot, a risk of surgery, which necessitated a life saving emergency craniectomy on 6/26. I did not have the difficult post surgery course that you have endured. Other than some balance, fatigue, and brain fog issues, I had a great recovery. Fatigue persists, but I’m a woman in her 60s lol. I came upon your name while reading about Yale Tumor Center last week. Imagine my surprise when I read that you were seeing Dr. Piepmeier on 7/1/08 and he discharged me the same day. Maybe we passed each other at the door lol.
    I wish you much happiness in your new job. Happy tenth Craniversary!!

    Kathy

  2. Kathy,

    Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. Happy tenth brainaversary to you, as well. I am glad to hear that you are doing well and staying strong. I can fully relate and appreciate your feelings of fatigue and brain fog issues, but I hope that you will continue to stay well and feel stronger every day. Whether a tumor is malignant or benign, a brain tumor can be a terrifying diagnosis but it is how you face it that will determine your outcome. I hope that our paths will cross some day soon and I wish you nothing but continued happiness and health.

    Best,
    Chris

    1. Thank you! Here is a book that helped me better understand my brain and me😊 : “Awakening the Brain, The Neuropsychology of Grace” by Charlotte Tomaino. I first read it two years ago. It’s not a leisurely read. After hearing the author speak 2 weeks ago, I am reading it again. Food for thought.

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