Nik’s Story: #braintumorthursdays

Nik’s Story: #braintumorthursdays

Five years into remission, Vancouver born Nik Fabisiak reflects on his journey with a brain tumour with a renewed appreciation for life. After two agonizing years of unexplained migraines, ocular seizures and collapsing on many occasions, Nik sought the help of a neurologist to determine the cause of his symptoms.

However, the neurologist was doubtful that Nik’s symptoms indicated that anything was abnormal. Frustrated, Nik reached out to his General Practitioner, who he says “came through as his hero during such a difficult time”.

At 22, Nik received the shocking news that he had a large mass in his right occipital. While the process leading to his diagnosis was slow, his surgery was scheduled almost immediately.

Nik brain tumour survivor recovers from surgeryIn November of 2006, Nik had surgery to remove the mass that was initially diagnosed as a Ganglioglioma brain tumour. Post-surgery, Nik had to readjust to changes in his body including the loss of vision in his left peripheral view and changes in his motor function.

By attending physiotherapy and a vision loss centre, he was able to transition back into his daily routine including playing multiple sports. Then unexpectedly, half a year later, Nik began to experience symptoms similar to those that lead to his original diagnosis.

While his neurologist believed that it was too soon after Nik’s surgery for him to be experiencing these symptoms, he was scheduled for a second surgery a few months later.

Following this surgery, Nik was re-diagnosed with a different tumour type, a Pilocytic Astrocytoma. While this new diagnosis was scary for Nik, he focused on remaining positive.

Although recovering from a second brain surgery and enduring the follow-up radiation his new diagnosis required was difficult, Nik focused on his renewed appreciate for life and all that he could accomplish. While in the hospital, Nik learned of a small business bursary program, this piqued his interest in starting his own company. Shortly after he left the hospital, Nik applied for the business bursary program and started a professional dog training business. After selling this first business in December of 2012, Nik then started Dharma Dog Daycare in February of 2013.

When looking back on his journey with a brain tumour, Nik believes that it has made him a better person. He firmly believes that he has a far more positive outlook on life today.

When asked what he tells other brain tumour patients facing a brain tumour diagnosis, Nik advises them to deal with the immediate short term and live in the moment. “You can live a regular life as long as you accept your new reality and learn to improve it”, he says.

Nik first learned of Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada through the organization’s Twitter account and the ‘hashtag’ #braintumorthursdays. #braintumorthursdays is a way for brain tumour surivivors, patients, caregivers and activists to connect around the world via the social media network Twitter. Every Thursday, ‘tweets’ about brain tumours are shared around the world with this ‘hashtag’. Anyone affected by a brain tumour or interested in the cause can search and follow the ‘hashtag’, raise awareness and find others. Nik is one of thousands of brain tumour survivors and activists active on Twitter around the world and he uses this social media tool to connect with other survivors as well as Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. Nik can be found at @dharmadogcares on Twitter.

brain tumour survivor nik and his wife joanne expecting their first baby



Today, Nik and his wife Joanne are expecting their first baby in June. As a Canine Behaviour Therapist, Nik has worked very hard at building his business. In his downtime, he enjoys a good game of golf.


Thank you Nik for sharing your story and connecting with others.



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Story posted: April 2013

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