Stephanie's Story: Shine!

Stephanie's Story: Shine!

When I was 7 years old, I remember having headaches every day. I became sensitive to loud noises like the school bus and bright lights and I was tired a lot. I remember everyone telling me that I might need glasses, but every optometrist we saw said I had perfect vision. One night, my mom looked over at me and my one eye had turned inwards. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with a Craniopharyngioma. A type of brain tumour, derived from pituitary gland embryonic tissue, that occurs most commonly in children. 

I had surgery, and it was removed, but when I was 9 it came back. I really only remember being scared. I have a loving family that was there for support through the whole thing, as well as great friends.

My pituitary gland came out with the tumour, and so I have had to take growth hormone and other medications to replace its function. I also gained a lot of weight, especially in the first year. That was hard for a couple of reasons. I was always hungry which was difficult because I could eat a huge meal and still feel starving. Also, it was hard at school, having gained a lot of weight there was a lot of bullying.

Before my second surgery when I was 9, my Mom found out about a support group in Ajax and I met a few other people with the same brain tumour type as I had. We became good friends, even though they were older than me, as we shared a common thread. This was an awesome place for me to feel not so alone in what I was going through, it was a place that I could bare my emotions and how I was feeling. I truly believe that the people I met at this support group helped me to be who I am today.

When I was 16, I was one of the first children to get the laparoscopic band put on, in hopes it would help the constant hunger and help to allow me to stop gaining weight. It helped me to no longer feel hungry 24/7 and did help me to start losing weight.

I have learned from my experience, which is in some ways continuous, to never give up and never lose hope! Even when times seem hard, no one understands, you’re struggling, you can’t find the light, you have to keep going! The light is inside you! Shine! Be an example for yourself above all else! Cry, let it out, but get back up on that horse and ride forward. Look at each tough moment as a bump in the road and not as the end of the road!

Thank you Stephanie for sharing your story.
We hope that your inspirational words will help many others on the brain tumour journey!  

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