My headaches worsened in January 2017 and while I saw my doctor on three different occasions he never examined any part of me. I have always suffered from headaches and I was asking for more migraine pills to get me through what I thought was simply a difficult spell that would pass but he argued every step of the way. Prior to seeing him I was stressed and on completion of each visit I was anxious. I felt adrift and rather abandoned.

It was February 2017 when I went for my regular eye appointment and the doctor asked why my right eye was bulging out of my head. I said I had no idea. She found it remarkable that I hadn’t noticed it. I found it remarkable that she didn’t understand that a sixty-six-year-old, greying, rather chubby dog rescuer didn’t spend much time in front of a mirror eyeing herself carefully. I needed new glasses so chose a pair of violet frames with hints of embedded glitter. When better to shine, I thought. I was told then that I had a tumour and the road ahead had never seemed vaster. The journey had begun and learning to accept was the lesson. I emotionally climbed mountains and stumbled into valleys. I announced my fears and hoped beyond hope that I would be strong enough to cope. I hated the worry I was causing so many. Having a brain tumour is daunting.

For years, I have offered words of support to people in need and felt helpless because my gestures seemed so inadequate. But, as people reached out to me I felt lifted up. If so many people believed in me how could I not believe in myself? The power was tangible and not for one moment did I feel alone or adrift. I was anchored by the dogs and the people who loved and appreciated them. The worth of my life was being shown to me through others and I felt great gratitude.

So many of you told me how my life has mattered. I do live consciously but could only hope I was actually accomplishing and making a difference. Strangers stood at my side willing me to do well, friends spoke words I needed to hear and family loved me through. This has been the worst of times and the best of times but I have been gifted with an opportunity to grow and do more.  

The dogs of course knew. Leaving them when I needed their spirits and their will so much was difficult. I told each one sweetness and joy when I left for the hospital and I have never meant it more.

I had the surgery May 15 and while not all went as expected I survived. The tumour was completely removed from my brain but there was too much bleeding for the eye to be operated on. There is still some remaining tumour in the optic of the eye. I left the hospital with the possibility of radiation hanging over my head if the biopsy results came back malignant and further surgery if the tumour grows again. Still, I hadn’t had a stroke, suffered seizures and the pain was manageable.

I am resting at home now with an overwhelming sense of good fortune.

We have several rescue dogs still in our care and a mother and her seven pups are expected within the week. Goliath, Tria, Casper and Matilda have found forever homes and it warms my heart knowing my ailments didn’t slow down all they deserved. Sparky, Speckle and Trooper are anticipatory and I am hopeful for them as well.

The tumour was at the front of my brain and impacted the emotions. I am now experiencing new sensations, clarity and expansiveness of thought which is most interesting. I feel the need to create and plan to write my book over the summer. I need dogs snuggling against me and making me laugh while I hold a wounded soul in my arms. I just need more and understand better than ever just what to do.

I am here and continuing. I would love to spend a lazy summer afternoon on the verandah with you all just so you could know what you mean to me and what you did for me. I will never forget.