Once upon a time we found a ping pong sized tumor had taken up residence in my brain. Shortly after, I underwent surgery to evict previous mentioned tumor tenant. The specific surgery approach taken, involved severing my auditory nerve from my brain. I lost hearing in my right ear. The tumor was aggressively interwoven around my facial nerve, so to quite literally “save face” my brilliant, beautiful soul of a surgeon decided to make the call to leave some tumor behind. What I didn’t realize is the absolute ball and chain of fear I lived with, as a result of that tad bit of tumor being left behind.
My body had betrayed me already. I was sure it would do so again. I was absolutely certain that regrowth was in my cards. A fear so rampant, it succeeded even in blinding my prayers— “It’s fine,” I would pray. “It’s fine, God, WHEN you give me this again. Man, I don’t want it. But it’s fine.” I had seen His glory in the tumor. I had mistakenly thought, it’d be His plan to get the glory again the same way. I didn’t even consider praying for the tumor to be gone.
For a week or so leading up to March 5th (my MRI date to check for regrowth), I was experiencing daily chest pains. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t sleep. Anxiety was having a field day in every area of my life. I chalked it up to work, or a busy schedule. I was in complete denial over the actual source–the assurance that I’d soon have it confirmed that my tumor had grown source.
I laid in the tube. That horrible, tight, loud, metal tube. Then I went to see my doctor. HE TOLD ME EVERYTHING LOOKED FINE. I asked to see my brain… again. (Last time I asked that, we found a tumor, ourselves, on a Friday night.) This time, he pointed out what looked to be scar tissue where the tumor once was. And while he was doing that, I saw a large seemingly out of place vein in my brain.
Doctor: “It’s probably nothing. Don’t worry about it.”
Me: “So this is how I die.”
He said he’d be in touch with the official radiology report. I wanted a term to google. You know, to see what new thing I was dying from.
The report came back today. The vein thing, some anomaly… nothing, like he promised. But something else he said brought me to my knees in sobs.
Doctor: “No evidence of residual or recurrent tumor!”
Did you catch that? I was so distracted by the vein, and blinded by fear—I had missed a MIRACLE. Not only was there no growth, there was zero evidence of anything that was left behind.
A part of my tumor was left behind. And while I was waiting around for it to grow, (dramatic pause) it DISAPPEARED.
I am tumor free. There is no more tumor in my brain. This chapter has closed. I cry every time I say it. The tumor is gone. I don’t have a time bomb in my head. I am free. There is no more tumor. Now. This moment. Finally. I actually feel like a survivor.
A silly, tumor free, survivor.