Margaret's Story: Trick or Treat

Margaret's Story: Trick or Treat

October 31, 2013: Halloween morning I woke up with a sudden severe headache on the right side of my forehead with vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. During a second visit to the hospital emergency department, a CT scan revealed a probable brain tumour. Was this a trick? Is this a nightmare?

Shocked, scared, angry, and in disbelief, I was admitted to the hospital for further investigation. On November 8, 2013, I had surgery to remove the tumour in my right temporal lobe. I was diagnosed later with a grade three oligoastrocytoma, a malignant form of brain cancer, and the prognosis wasn’t good. In only a few short days my world came crashing down on me and my life was flipped upside down, spinning out of control. I spent that day crippled by sadness, crying with my family.

Decision: Later that day during a drive home from a break at the mall, I reflected on my sadness and my prognosis in silence and decided not to be sad anymore. I felt like being sad was no way to live the rest of my life. I thought to myself; whether I have days, months, years, or decades to live, I didn’t want to spend my time left in this world being negative about my circumstance. I am not miserable. I am happy and loving life.

Focus: With my life spinning out of control I quickly committed myself to learning and focusing on the things I can control. In addition to complying with conventional cancer treatments, I turned to evidence based practices known to support health and healing such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, and supplementation. To learn more about these integrated cancer care strategies and more, I joined Inspire Health and committed myself to doing what I can do to position myself to defy statistics, to be in the best state physically and mentally, to heal and thrive. I am not condemned. I am in control and confident.

Beliefs: My religious beliefs helped me to accept my diagnosis and reflect on my belief that everything in life happens for a reason. I’ve always believed that in all life events, positive or negative, even with something as tragic as death, there is something to learn and something to gain either personally or for those around us. It may not make any sense at the time, and may seem unfair, but it is all part of God`s master plan. I am not afraid. I am receptive and optimistic.

Opportunities: Coincidentally or not, my dad had a benign brain tumour, which was discovered 20 years ago while I was a teen. Growing up I saw him struggle with his brain tumour as he went through repeat surgeries and treatment. He fell into depression, struggled with his faith and questioned God, Why me? The question I’ve always focused on and encouraged him to reflect on is rather, why not me? Because we have been selected and given a unique opportunity to experience and do something different in our life. We need to learn to embrace life’s challenges and setbacks. To view them as opportunities for personal growth, and appreciate that we’ve been given the opportunity to refocus our energy and time on the things that truly matter. I am not lost. I have a new beginning and I am excited for the future.

Treat: An unexpected sweet treat

Being diagnosed with brain cancer has been a transformational opportunity for me. A sweet treat disguised as a brain tumour. My unexpected guest has given me the opportunity to live my life with gratitude, do the things that I enjoy and love, and learn to do more of what I can do to keep my mind and body healthy and in balance. My health and fitness were admired and praised before this sweet treat. My hope is to continue to amaze people during my healing journey and to inspire others to take control of their health and healing. Even though I have brain cancer, I feel healthy and I am strong and positive.

Special thanks to BC Cancer Agency for running Margaret’s story first in their newsletter Headlines.  

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