Rozana's Story

Rozana's Story

When I was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 40, I never could have imagined the impact in would have on my life. What I know for sure is that my husband’s support, encouragement and love kept me alive, motivated and helped me heal inside and out.

Following months of severe headaches, dizziness and vomiting, I finally had an MRI on July 24, 2010. The scan found a 5x5 tumor on my brain stem under my cerebellum. I was transferred to Toronto Western hospital to have surgery immediately. My husband and I were in shock. We didn’t have any time to digest the news, call family, etc. My husband sat and waited while I underwent a 6 hour operation to remove the tumor.

After my surgery I was a paraplegic. I could only wiggle my right foot toe. I couldn’t eat solid food, couldn’t drink water and was transported by a crane. Months later I was able to use a commode, and months later able to go to the bath room on my own. I went through 33 sessions of radiation therapy and I stayed in a rehabilitation hospital for 9 months.

I eventually stopped crying and the pain began to subside. I was a physical and emotional wreck. Thankfully, my husband was with me every step of the way. He would jump into the hospital bed, hold my hand, make me laugh and tell me that I was going to get better and that everything would work out. At first I didn’t believe him, but I started to see small improvements.

The first thing that returned was my ability to eat solid food, then swallow water, then transfer from my bed to a wheel chair. Slowly my fingers started to straighten, and eventually I was able to stand and squat.

After months of therapy and hard work came the big challenge, taking my first walking steps. It still brings tears to my eyes when I think of that moment.

I had a team of four therapists; one in front of me, one behind me and one on each side to support me. Once I stood up I held on to a tall walker. Working through the pain and discomfort I took my first steps and then collapsed into my wheel chair.

Tears of joy started pouring down my cheeks. It was at that moment I believed I would one day walk again.

Nine months later I walked out of that hospital. Today, I don’t even use a cane. I do live a modified life, but a glorious and grateful one. There are many things that I can’t do, but now take great pride and focus on the things I can do.

It’s been 4 years and I have one more year before I’m in the clear of any tumor re-growth. I’m grateful to be alive and have the support of my loving husband, family and friends.

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