Hi, my name is Brianna and I am a senior in High School. This is my story.
July of last year, 2013, I went to girls’ camp. Near our camp site, there was a lake in which we could swim, canoe, and ride a zip line into. Wanting to try something new, I decided to get on the zip line, and drop out of it into the water. I did, and the moment I hit the water, I knew I had done it wrong, because I was immediately in pain. I didn’t think much of it except for a few bruises on my legs from the impact.
The next week, I suddenly started getting these stabbing pains in a certain part of my head. It was different then a normal headache, so my mom and I decided to get it checked out. We started seeing a neurologist, and he diagnosed it as a concussion. He started to give me exercises to do to help train my brain to heal and to get back to normal. But this made things worse. I started having moments of brain fog and memory loss where I would forget things that had just happened and I would be confused as to where I was and what I was doing. I also started seeing double, which made concentrating really difficult. The week before school started, I went in for an appointment with the neurologist, and he was surprised things weren’t improving. My mom felt very strongly that I needed an MRI done, so he ordered one for me. We scheduled it for August 22, 2013, the third day of my senior year. As that day approached, I was really nervous about it, but I just kept telling myself that everything was going to be okay.
The day of the MRI, I left my grandma and mom in the waiting room and walked back into a room to have the MRI done. After a while of lying in the donut-shaped machine, they brought me out and told me they needed to inject some contrast into my arm so they could see the picture of my brain better. I didn’t think anything of it, and I was put back into the machine for a few minutes. After they brought me out, I walked back to the waiting room. I sat down, and explained to my mom and grandma that the MRI was so much easier than I thought it would be. A lady from the front desk came over and told my mom she had a phone call. She walked over to the desk to take the call, and after a few minutes she came back. My grandma and I stood up, and we all walked out of the hospital to head home, without anyone saying anything. We parted ways with my grandma, and my mom
and I got into the car. As we pulled out of the parking lot, my mom broke the news to me. She told me she had spoken with my doctor, and he had just received the results back from the radiologist about the MRI. They had found a tumor. I immediately broke down and began to cry. I was in utter disbelief. This could not be happening. All of the sudden, I felt completely terrified as I faced an unknown and looming future. As soon as we got home, I collapsed on the couch and continued to cry. She told me she had called my dad as soon as she found out, so he was on his way home. All of the sudden, it hit me that they just might have to shave my head. That thought scared me even more. We were home for a few minutes when my dad walked through the door. About the same time, someone from the hospital called to say that we needed to leave immediately and drive straight there. So that’s what we did. I was admitted through ER, and spent the night in ICU. The nurses were watching me extremely close, and because of the pool up of spinal fluid in my brain, I was at risk at having a massive seizure. The next morning, on August 23rd, which happened to be my 17th birthday, at 6:30 in the morning, one of the nurses came in to shave my head. They had given me the choice to shave my whole head (which is what they recommend to all of their patients in these circumstances) or keep what I could. I chose the second option. I sat on that hospital bed holding the hands of my parents and cried as she shaved most of my hair off. At 10:30, I went in for brain surgery. The surgery was supposed to last 5 hours, but I was out in 2 ½. I walked for the first time the very next day, and after getting up out of bed, walking a little ways down the hall and back, I was exhausted and slept for a few hours. After being in the ICU for 2 days, I was moved to a different floor, which was a sign I was doing great. I was in the hospital for 2 more full days after that, and then I was able to go back home that next Tuesday (August 27th). I was out of school for a solid two weeks, but during that time, so many of my friends came to visit and ladies we knew brought us dinner every night. It was amazing to see the support that came from each and every one of those people.
My tumor ended up being an atypical neurocytoma, which is really rare in the realm of brain tumors. I don’t have to see an oncologist, but they are watching it very closely with MRI’s every few months to make sure it doesn’t come back. That alone is amazing, but my recovery has been truly nothing short of miraculous.
I had heard this certain quote a while back, and I was reminded of it one day while I was in the hospital: “You never know how strong you truly are until being strong is the only choice you have.” I know this to be absolutely true. I also know without a doubt that we aren’t given anything we can’t handle and overcome. I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of my family as well as a loving Father in Heaven and my Savior.
This has been the hardest experience I have ever gone through, but I have learned more through this than anything else. It has given me a different perspective on life which I wouldn’t have received otherwise. I have come to be a lot more grateful for life and being grateful each day that I’m alive and doing so well. I also have realized that life is so much more precious that we give it credit for. You never know what will happen and you can’t take anything for granted. I also have gained a better understanding of and have grown closer to my Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He died for ME, and He has felt every single pain and heartache that I have and He is the ONLY One who knows exactly how this has felt. I am so grateful that I have been able to have Him to turn to and lean on, when no one else has understood completely. I am so very grateful for loving and supportive family members and friends to help me get through this. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have of a loving Heavenly Father’s plan for me. It won’t be easy, but I know it will all be worth it in the end.
If you would like to read my story in more detail with pictures, visit my blog (ayoungwomansheart.blogspot.com) and go to December 2013 in the blog archive.
Story written by: Brianna
This story appeared first on Real Imprints.