july 1, 2014
Competitive sports have always been a major part of my life. One morning at swim practice in the summer of 2014, I had an experience that would change my life forever. I was 14 years old at the time. I fainted.
Prior to that swim practice, I had experienced episodes of extreme euphoria about twice a day for several months. I had later found out that those episodes were aura seizures. This particular morning the aura seizures were extremely intense. The last thing I remembered was standing in the swim team locker room. Everything went dark. I had fallen and hit my forehead on a concrete bench. As a result, I suffered an extremely severe concussion (pictured below). After being rushed to the hospital, I had a MRI where it was discovered I had a brain tumor in my front right temporal lobe.
After the discovery of the tumor, the surgery was set for one week from that day. I was absolutely terrified of having surgery, mainly in that I might never be the same again. I was and am an extremely social and athletic teenager, so this situation completely changed my world. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to participate in the sports I loved again.
After the surgery, I was on bed rest for 3 months. I had an amazing support system. My friends and family were with me every step of the way. The recovery process was extremely boring and terrifying as I was lying in bed for months having many questions unanswered.
Since my surgery in the summer of 2014, I finished my sophomore year at a high school in a suburb of Chicago, IL. Later, I moved to Maryland to finish my junior and senior year of high school. The hardest part of moving as a teenager was leaving my support system that helped me through my surgery. Once I got to Maryland, I became the captain of my high school swim team, competed in State-level swim meets, broke multiple swimming records, and worked to save enough money to purchase my first car.
Now, I am completely recovered with no side effects.
Overall, I am grateful for my brain tumor experience because not too many people have had the opportunity to grow and learn about themselves and the world in this way. Through my journey, I discovered and realized the importance of mindset, having a strong support team, and the essence of persistence.
During my journey I wish I had met another teenager who had lived the teenage brain tumor experience. Someone I could relate to. This would have reassured me that my life is just beginning and not ending. That would have shown me that someone had been where I was, and was victorious.
This video is of one of my swim races a year and a half post surgery