In the summer of 2019, there was a moment that I didn't feel well and something wasn't right. I've always been one to see a doctor, so I bounced around a few who just couldn't pinpoint what was causing my symptoms. Doctor A said this...Doctor B said that...Doctor C said I was imagining it.
I went to see Duke Neurology in October '19. The neurologist noticed that my smile was asymmetrical. It was not obvious, but noticeable to the trained eye. She said that it could just be me, but she also said that in very rare cases there are things like mini strokes or brain tumors, so I was referred to have an MRI to rule out those possibilities.
When getting off shift on November 1, 2019, I shamefully joked to coworkers about how "I'm going to get scanned to make sure I still have a brain, I'll see y'all next cycle". Six hours later my phone rang, my stomach sank knowing that doctors didn't call with good news, and I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. While notifying my family, one of them (a neurosurgeon himself, what are the odds?) said I needed to see Dr. Allan Friedman at Duke. The next day, out of pure luck, I was referred to the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center and scheduled with Dr. Allan Friedman. On November 22 I underwent surgery, he removed it, and brought me out of the rabbit hole I was falling into.
The moral of my story is that you always need to Keep Moving Forward. Do not give up, just keep going.
In the brain tumor world, I am a simple drop in the bucket. Angels Among Us brings us all together, acknowledging that it's a fight to save lives and sticking together helps that fight stay strong. The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center is made up of a huge group of people that take care of the patients and their families. Every aspect of your care is there waiting for you with someone waiting to support you through it.
Please consider donating to their cause. It is not about making money for an organization, it is about pushing funds where the doctor's think it is needed the most to save lives. Walking through that center and feeling the urge to smile. You just feel the drive, the knowledge, the skill...it's why they are the most prestigious place for those that are diagnosed with a brain tumor. People from across the world come to the center to keep moving forward, to keep going, and not give up.