Ruth and Victoria's Story

Ruth and Victoria's Story

My loving partner, Victoria Lee, died of an oliodendroglioma brain tumour in late 2013. She had been diagnosed in 2001 and fought the disease for twelve years.

Her symptoms were primarily suffering with Clonic Tonic (Grand Mal) seizures, some memory difficulties and at times, confusion. Her journey took her through the maze of brain tumour specialists, repeatedly being pricked for blood work, rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and drugs upon drugs.

Our name for it was “ugly oli,” and from the moment it came into our lives, it parked itself in our space and from there forward, controlled our every move. It took any sense of normalcy from our world and changed our lives forever.

Victoria was a strong competent professional, caring, sensitive and always the first to step forward to help others. One of the most difficult things about the illness was to witness her go in and out of depression, suffer pain and lose her sense of self. But what “ugly oli” couldn’t take was her immeasurable courage or the desire for our family to stand beside her through the journey.

As her primary caregiver I was to assume many roles, including nurse, receptionist, scheduler, negotiator, chief listener, junior therapist, hand-holder and teammate. The role of the family expanded to ensure we assisted Victoria in remaining positive, maintaining hope, and standing strong.

I cannot express what an inspiration she was to so many others; Victoria had the heart of a champion. In her own words, “Every time I think I have climbed the mountain, I get knocked back off.” But she got back up, stood up and fought again.

As her number-one advocate through the journey, I became a semi-expert on brain tumours. Victoria's legacy has left behind a partner and family that will forever advocate for brain tumour awareness and help others in any way we can.

Below is a poem I wrote in tribute to Victoria and I hope that it helps others in understanding the strength required to travel such a difficult journey.


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