Ottawa Survivor Returns Support She Received During Her Own Treatment

Ottawa Survivor Returns Support She Received During Her Own Treatment

Jennifer Baker has a great attitude when it comes to discussing her struggle with her brain tumour. She isn’t fearful but rather philosophic in her views: "People need to count their blessings each day since stresses at work are trivial and things can be taken away so quickly." She also realizes that your health and the people you care about are much more important in the grand scheme of things.

"I’ll never complain again about a bad hair day," jokes Baker, referring to the hair loss that resulted from her radiation treatment.

On June 13, 2003, an unlucky Friday the thirteenth, Baker suffered a grand mal seizure at work and was rushed to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a brain tumour (later determined to be an oligoastrocytoma) on the right temporal lobe of her brain. Her life changed quickly and a week and a half later she was in surgery having her grade three tumour removed. Fortunately, the surgery went well and she was out of the hospital and back home to her family of three cats within three days.

Baker, an account manager for an information technology firm and an avid piano player and drummer, lives alone but has a great family of friends. "When I was first diagnosed, a social worker told me that I wasn’t alone and there was lots of support available," Baker recalls. "I had my first support group meeting in September 2003 and I have gone every month since. It means a lot for me to talk to people who are newly diagnosed."

She also has fond memories of how her friendships changed during her treatment. "My friends were supportive and it brought me closer; acquaintances became friends for life."

In 2007, Jennifer participated in Ottawa’s Spring Sprint (now Brain Tumour Walk) as honourary spokesperson, and this year decided to organize and coordinate the event. Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada is privileged to have such a hardworking and dedicated volunteer taking the lead in that city.

Baker understands that although she has had clear MRI results for almost five years, brain tumours are more common than people think. Two of her friends have since been diagnosed with brain tumours. Despite these ordeals, Baker has maintained her trademark sense of humour. "I live my life to the fullest each day and am not in denial anymore. Bad things do happen to good people. I am going to enjoy the time I have left – until I am 95 years old."

Photo: Jennifer Baker (left) with friend from the 2007 Ottawa Spring Sprint  (now Brain Tumour Walk)


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