It seems to be happening a lot more these days.
People of all ages are being diagnosed with brain tumors. Sometimes it's little kids, and that just rips your heart out. Other times, it's an adult who has never shown symptoms before and, all of a sudden, their lives are turned upside down.
Either way, it isn't easy.
Recently, I was in the latter category. I was a 40-year-old mom, minding my own business when, one day, my life changed forever. I went through the surgery and found out that my tumor was benign.
Of course, all my family, friends and I were just thrilled - no malignancy. And at first, you think, that's it, right? I'm off the hook, free to go on with my life as usual.
Ah, no. Not so fast. There are still issues to deal with, still checkups to go through and still the moments of stress that are tough to avoid. You sometimes worry whether it could happen all over again.
Luckily, there are places to turn to that help people go through the effects of benign tumors, and the after-effects of recovery.
About a year ago, I came across a website called "It's Just Benign." It was designed by a lady named Beth Rosenthal who was once diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. She underwent brain surgery and radiation treatments in 1986 that left her with excruciating facial pain on her left side. Her balance was never the same, either.
She had been dealing with things continuously over the years, but she never really had anyone to talk to about the crummy side-effects from surgery, radiation and medication.
So, a little over a year ago, Beth decided to start this website to reach out to others who can understand what she was going through.
This website is no less than amazing. People who, at times, feel very much alone now have a place to go and "chat" with others. They can talk with people who know exactly what they are talking about, and how they are feeling, with very little explanation. It's very comforting.
Keep in mind that many of us are happy, in a sense, to be diagnosed with a benign brain tumor as opposed to a malignant one. We are all extremely well aware of the what the diagnosis could have been.
However, benign tumors also carry side effects after surgery or radiation treatments that can be tough to deal with. Each of us is affected differently because we all have had different treatments. Many of us will be on medication for the rest of our lives.
In my case, my anti-seizure medicine causes side-effects of fatigue and depression. I've learned over the years that just about all those medicines have the same side-effects, so that is something I have learned to live with.
I fight back with exercise. Through the It's Just Benign website, people can exchange ideas just like that, and talk about fighting side-effects. We can talk about just getting through life. We can talk with people who understand how we feel.
Beth and I are hoping to get the word out about It's Just Benign. We're hoping that other survivors, like us, will find this site and find some peace, too.
Please help spread the word for us, especially if you know someone going through this difficult life-changing situation. It's Just Benign will help them to feel normal once again.
For more information, check the website at http://its-just-benign.ning.com