How My Brain Tumors Changed My Perspective on Life
Years ago, the sunrise didn’t have any meaning for me. Stars were merely decoration for the sky. “There’s always tomorrow” was the mindset I used to excuse procrastination and mistakes. Raised voices and the silent treatment seemed like acceptable solutions.
Every day, many of us walk around forgetting that we aren’t entitled to life. We get comfortable. We take people for granted. We utter cruel comebacks in the midst of confrontation, then weep the next day when there’s no opportunity to make amends.
It’s OK to make mistakes, but it’s how we move forward that’s most important.
When I was diagnosed with my first brain tumor, a tectal glioma, as a teenager, my outlook on life changed. The sunrise meant I was blessed to be breathing for another day. The stars became reminders that I am just a speck in the universe, and things far greater than me exist. I felt more pressure to turn wrongs into rights as quickly as possible, now that I realized death could enter a room at any moment without bothering to knock.
When I was diagnosed in 2020 with my second brain tumor, a pituitary adenoma, and Cushing’s disease, I was convinced it was because I had failed to carry on the lessons I learned from my first brain tumor experience. Was I not appreciating life enough? Was I taking things for granted again?
Surely I realized my elevated cortisol levels were responsible for my aggressive behavior and lack of interest, but I couldn’t control that until I had transsphenoidal surgery to remove my pituitary tumor.
Unfortunately, I now suffer the consequence of lost and broken friendships due to my disease and the ways it changed me. But I try to see things sunny side up: I still have an opportunity to make amends, and I didn’t lose everyone I care about.
I later came to another realization: I didn’t develop a second tumor because I was taking life for granted, but because my brain tumor advocacy wasn’t finished. I’d let the ball drop. I believe my higher power knew I was capable of pushing harder and advocating more creatively, that I was strong and courageous enough to go through Cushing’s disease.
I know the changes that arise from Cushing’s are tough. (Check out this video to see how the disease changed my appearance.) It can be hard to love your body and even yourself. But I wholeheartedly believe that all of us are only put in situations that our God or higher power knows we can handle.
These days, I find meaning in both subtlety and the bigger picture. I value and appreciate things more. I love — intensely. Time isn’t meant to be wasted, and we never know how much time we’ll get.
To all my fellow Cushing’s warriors, I urge you to practice self-love every day and to fight for yourself. Don’t let this disease consume you. Live courageously and by your values. Love genuinely and with intent. Express gratitude daily.
Note: Cushing’s Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cushing’s Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Cushing’s.