Johanna's Story: The Positive Life impact

Johanna's Story: The Positive Life impact

Dear Survivors, Brave Fighters, encouraging supporters, caregivers and everyone who will read this,

Life is very special to each one of us because we're all affected by cancer in one way or the other.

I , me, Johanna, currently 23 yrs old, used to read and hear this all the time but the truth was, I never really had someone close to me have Cancer.

So I just lived life, moved to Canada, graduated high school, planned my future and, got cancer.
Yes, ME.

In the first few months of 2010, I started noticing changes in my walking pattern as it seemed a little unstable to me but nothing too big or alarming. Weeks went on, I got my first job, and lost my first job- after only two weeks. Of course this wasn't just because I didn't want to work or didn't put any effort into the job, no, it was because symptoms worsened.

I started being sick and it persisted day after day, they became worse, I wasn't eating anymore, became weak, lost weight and was fighting terrible headaches.

After two trips in two weeks to my local Emergency room, I was sent home both times with the diagnosis of having a bad virus. "take some Advil or Gravol." Symptoms got worse, I got weaker and so on and so on. I saw another Doctor, my 4th doctors visit with this "issue" now.

I seemed to have hit the jackpot. She saw something was wrong right away. My walking, being sick, the headaches, my right sided double vision, it all made her decide that I needed an urgent CT scan.

Long story short, I had the CT scan, saw her in her Office just two hours later with the news of my parents right away taking me to the city to a, way bigger, hospital to meet the surgeon for brain surgery. Now since a CT scan is not as accurate as an MRI, she said she saw something pressuring my Brain and that fluid had to be drained. No one knew of a brain tumor at that time.

We arrived at the Emergency department at the hospital, discussed the surgery and waited for a nurse to draw some blood.- first seizure.

I remember bits and pieces of that particular night or March 12th, 2010.

I remember that I was woken up after my first seizure, I slightly remember the surgeon coming and chatting with my parents and after that, I can't recall a thing.

I, apparently had an MRI and a second seizure afterwards. My vital signs must have looked bad because the attending doctor decided that I needed the surgery right away and not a day later like it was planned. If he wouldn't have made that decision, I would not be sitting here anymore. It was a very close call.

The surgery lasted 4 hours and I was wheeled out of the operating room at approx. 1am.

It was hours later in the hotel that my parents realized that the surgeon had said to them that he had removed the tumor.
Tumor? Wow!

I stayed 2 days in the ICU which made my hospital stay three weeks in total. In those three weeks, I had MRIs, was rehabilitating my, lost, walking skills and coordination, had two or three set-backs of loosing consciousness, several lovely visits and oh yes, my diagnosis.
Astrocytoma Grade 3 was the final word on the completely removed, tumour in my brain. All this at only 18 years old.

It was first decided that I would be treated with a combination of Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy however, after a final look at my recent MRI scan, the chemo was held off on in case there would be any recurrence.

The Radiotherapy I received was spread over the course of 6 long weeks; which first seemed like a breeze yet after two weeks, I got really exhausted, fought with fatigue, an allergic reaction which developed over time to my eyes and losing my appetite. The intense treatment was finished and I went on a six week vacation to Germany to be with my sister and take my mind off things.

Throughout this time, I was supported by my wonderful Family, Friends near and far and an amazing care team. May it be nurses,doctors, social workers, even the cleaners on the unit I was on, they were all so loving and caring. I will be forever grateful to have had these people by my side.

I am now 4 years Cancer-free and am soon to celebrate my big 5 years.

Life is a wonderful thing and as weird as it may sound, having cancer might be one of the most eye opening and best experience in my life.

It changed the way I think, look at things, it gave me strength, made me meet wonderful people and turned me into a more positive and happy person than I ever was.
I am grateful to be called an inspiration by others and love to share my personal survivor story.

Even if things would've turned bad or if they ever will, this is chapter in my life, will never close as I am proud of my accomplishment and am prepared to fight again, with courage, strength and knowing that I have an amazing people all over the world to cheer me on.

To do List for your everyday:

  • Make someone Happy
  • Be Happy
  • Love
  • Laugh
  • Think Positive
  • Smile a lot
  • Be Kind and believe in yourself!
  • If you can't do it, who can?!

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