Many Faces of Brain Tumours

A Personal Story by Vero Martinez-Ennett

2007 Halifax Information Day

September 3rd, 2006 was the day in which I experienced all the emotions a human can feel. First was the anxiety, the sensation that something was wrong and the need to go to the hospital. Then at the E.R I went from boredom to anger to frustration and after 8 ½ hours in the waiting room, I experienced a huge sense of relief and a great happiness when it was finally our turn to see a doctor.

That short moment of happiness was quickly followed by fear, disbelief and nonconformity. I felt like a little girl afraid and alone in a dark room and I wanted my mommy.

My mom, who is a very strong and wise woman, said to me: “Vero, imagine that a horrible, smelly and rude person named Cancer just moved into your life, and whatever you do, wherever you go, he is going to be there: In the grocery store, in the car, when you go to bed, when you wake up, all the time he is going to be there. Tell me now; what are you going to do? Are you going to just sit there and be afraid of him or are you going to take his hand and walk with him?

I have never liked strong smells, so I took our new “guest’s” Cancer hand, took him into the shower, gave him a good scrub, combed his hair, put new clothes on him and started walking with him. It has not been an easy walk and many many times I felt lost. What my mom did not mention was that Cancer never comes alone…he always comes with a partner called “Hope.” It was her, Hope, who took me, more than once, to the shower and changed my clothes; it was she who showed me the way. It was Hope who also introduced us to her friend “Humour.” Humour is great, and he has helped to lighten and brighten the way. He is a fantastic companion, even though I still don’t understand some of his ideas when he teams up with my husband.

Our life with these three guests has been interesting. We have had our share of losing and our share of gains. We have lost, besides my husband’s hair, the feeling of “I am invincible and untouchable.” We have gained the ability to enjoy every moment, to make fun of it, to live here and now but keeping an eye on the future. We have learned that without a will there is no way.

Before I finish, I want to honour all of you living with a brain tumour, honour your fight, your courage. I especially want to honour all the caregivers. In moments of doubt, stay strong, trust yourself; trust your doctors, your pharmacists, your nurses and social workers. When you feel weak and think you cannot keep going remember that you are the rock that supports the hero. We caregivers also have a brain tumour, but carry it in our hearts and in our souls.

Cancer never knocks at the door, he just shows up and makes himself at home, but Hope and Humour require an invitation. They are outside your door waiting for you to invite them in. Open the door to them, welcome them, and together with our three guests, let’s imagine a cure and fight for a cure.

Thank you,

Vero Martinez-Ennett

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