December 13, 2019 which was a Friday by the way, started off like any other morning. I got my kids on the bus and was gathering my work supplies up when I received a phone call from the nurse at the neurologists office I had visited. “I am calling with your MRI results” she said. “It was abnormal, they found a mass, but don’t freak out, they said it is not emergent. Your brain looks like it has abnormal lesions and fluid. Do you have any questions”?
I was speechless. I didn’t have any questions because it was so unexpected that I literally did not have one clue about what to ask her. “Ok, I replied, thanks for letting me know” and we hung up.
And then I cried. Cried like when you watch the movie Stepmom and the mom dies kind of cry. The timing of this phone call could not have been worse, you see that evening I was holding a Candlelight Vigil for my patients at the hospital I work at. I am the coordinator of perinatal bereavement of a hospital in Buffalo New York and each year we hold a beautiful event for families right before the holidays. A night for them to reflect, honor and pay reverence to their baby who has died. I run the service and give a speech each year, something that is hope filled, inspirational, up lifting. And I just got a call that I have a mass on my brain. I had no idea how to separate my own experience in this moment, so I cried some more.
On the drive to work I decided that if ever there was a time when I would need to implement some of the techniques that I teach clients it would be now, so I stuffed all my anxiety, worry, terror in a “box” and went to the service and spoke from my heart.
I didn’t cry at the music like I normally do, I just sat stone faced, wondering if my family would be attending some similar type service next year to remember me.
I quickly conjured up every person that had every uttered the words brain cancer/ brain tumor to me. “I had a friend who died of a brain tumor”, these were the people who could help me, I hoped.
A coworker who had too much experience with brain tumors suggested that I name it. I immediately knew her name, Roxanne . I don’t know why, but I do know that’s her and she needs to go.