Blog and rehab26 Oct 2015 02:21 pm

2015 eric rebirthdaySunday was the 10 year anniversary of the brain tumor surgery that changed my life forever.   I wanted to celebrate, but honestly I felt like I was in a “funk.”  Maybe it was PTSD or a bout of “Survivor’s Guilt” because I finally had some time to sit down and reflect on things.  In the past 10 years, I’ve gone from young physical therapist to rehab patient to author to survivor advocate to nonprofit professional.   It has been a crazy ride!  I’ve met so many great people, but at the same time I’ve LOST so many good friends to tumors/cancer.  It doesn’t get any easier losing people.  I’ve noticed that many other advocates do not have as hard a time dealing with this.  I wonder how they do it.  Memories of the friends we’ve lost live on, but at the same time I always lament the potential new memories that we could have shared.  I have always had a hard time saying goodbye. I have gotten close to a number of survivors because we have so much in common. It has always been easy for me to form these bonds.

As a physical therapist, I always referred patients to other people/professionals if I couldn’t help them.  Often, I would never hear from them again.  However in cancer advocacy/ social media, we often get updates on how survivors are doing.  Of course, I like hearing the good news or seeing the funny things my friends share on social media.  However, whenever I hear of a friend passing or struggling… it always hits me hard.  It inspires me to work harder, but at the same time it hurts.  I didn’t think that it would hurt this much, but it always makes me sad thinking that I put my family and friends through a similar situation.  I naturally get close to people all the time because I like to joke around with them and always try to listen/learn something new from people.

Maybe this “funk” is “Survivor Guilt” because part of me still feels very lucky to be able to do the things I do.  I do realize that my situation could have been much worse.  Based in the location of the tumor, I could have woken up from surgery on a permanent mechanical ventilator or even stuck in a “vegetative state.”   I feel that my prior and current physical activity level may have aided in my recovery, but I am still very curious about HOW I am able to do so much after major brain surgery.  Thank goodness my cognition wasn’t impaired so I can discover how I was able to do this!  I think that exercise/physical activity made my recovery more efficient, by perhaps increasing blood/lymphatic circulation or somehow exercise makes the neurons more efficient.  Everything I’m doing now is to honor those of us that had to deal with a tumor/cancer diagnosis AND make things easier for future tumor/cancer patients.  I support early detection/prevention, but there is still a very large need for resources for newly diagnosed patients and ALL those who are affected by a tumor/cancer diagnosis.  My “funk” is temporary, but I’ve learned to use it to fuel my activities.  I’m truly sorry for scaring my family and friends 10 years ago.  I can’t even imagine what you went through… Thanks for having my back all these years, I’ll make you proud…

Please support my quest to teach the world “How to Kick mAss” next year.

More exciting things are in the works!   STAY TUNED!

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