Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hello, I Have A Brain Tumor

After I saw Dr. No Bedside Manner I had an appointment at my school with the program director to register for the next semester.  He was running a bit behind and I was highly anxious.  I had booked the appointment 20 minutes before I was scheduled to take an exam for the most difficult class I was taking.  When I made the appointment, I had no idea what that day would have in store for me.  I had even waited an extra day to get the results of the MRI from the ENT because I wanted to be able to study for this test without anything interfering.  I had reviewed the images myself and although I did not know how to interpret them, I knew something didn't look right. 
About 10 minutes before my test was scheduled to begin, I was called in to the program director's office.  He greets me with a smile and says, "How are you?"  It was the first time someone had said those words to me since I had been told I had an inoperable brain tumor and it was a possibility that I would live with my current symptoms for life.  I wanted to answer something like, "I'm incredibly anxious because you're running late, I have a huge test, and oh yeah, I have a really large brain tumor."  But I was pretty sure he meant the question rhetorically so I replied, "I'm great.  How are you?"  I was out of there in 5 minutes and arrived to take my test just on time.
I took that test in slow motion.  I had no idea I was in slow motion but I found out when the professor said, "time's up."  I was in shock.  Where had the two and a half hours gone?  I turned in my test and said, "I didn't get to finish."  The professor very nicely said, "You'll just have to be graded on the work you did."  I wanted to cry.  I managed to leave the building and cry in my car.  It wasn't that I didn't know the material.  I more than knew the material.  I just couldn't concentrate enough to produce the kind of work that I would normally produce.  As it turned out, I did very well on the exam (but I could have done even better).
For quite some time, I have been what I call sensitive to the human condition.  I am in tune and empathetic to others feelings and I try to be responsible for the role I play in affecting others emotions.  But I have my moments.  You know those moments when people are just testing your patience.  When it seems like their goal for the day is just to make your life a little more difficult.  This changed the day I saw Dr. No Bedside Manner.  Now I have an even grater awareness of the fact that I have no idea what challenges people I encounter may be going through.  No one would ever meet me and think there's a girl with a brain tumor.  We don't wear labels stating the challenges we face.  This insight has taught me to be more patient and kinder with others - even when they aren't behaving the way I think is best.  What I believe about the human condition is that we all just want our lives to work out as best they can along with the lives of all of those we care about.  When someone isn't putting thier best foot forward, who knows what lies under the surface, what challenges and obstacles life has handed to them that they are battling with. 
As I was sharing this with a friend who felt slighted by the way someone had behaved with her she asked, "What if they're just a jerk."  I agreed that it was definitely a possibility but the other side of the coin was just as likely.  We usually get a small snap shot of others and we make judgements  about them based on a one time interaction.  What if I had been judged someone who just can't finish an exam based on the one incident? I told my friend that the truth is we can't control how other's will behave but we do always have a choice in who we "be" in the matter.  I choose to be more patient, more gracious, and kinder because I bet that even if we did wear labels that stated our challenges, very few people's would read...Hello, I'm just a jerk.


  1. Maria:
    Tu eres una de esas personas a quien es muy dificil no amar a primers vista
    Desde que te conoci supe que eres muy especial y rapidamente te convertiste en mi mejor amiga.
    Your strength and faith are admirable
    Creo firmemente que esto es solo un capitulo de tu vida que vas a vencer por que Dios esta contigo tu familia y con los que deseamos tu pronta recuperacion. 
    Thank you for your openness and dedication in you're block, you're a fountain of hope that enriches the lives of all who follow you.
    Te amo mucho
    Martha Rowe

  2. Maria hermosa:

    I just read all your blog and there are not enough words to tell you how much I admire you. My watery eyes don’t let me see what I am writing due to the swirl of emotions I have right now. I want to let you know that you will be in our prayers every day. Also, Gabe and I will work with you every night, imagining how your tumor shrinks until it disappears and how all your body is full of good cells and totally heal. I believe so much in the power of healing and I am sure you can do it yourself as well as all the people who loves you and surrounds you if we all unite in mind, prayers, and soul.

    Thank you so much for the life lessons you teach me through your blog.

    I read your enthusiasm and positive attitude to win this battle and I have no doubts that you will. You did it already!! That's how you have to think.

    Please continue doing so and never, ever, allow the possibility to doubt, even in difficult days. I am sure during those days, angels will be by your side holding you and giving you the strength you need.

    Work with your mind to heal yourself, imagine yourself already healthy, give it as a fact, and thank God “in present” for being healthy and for winning this battle already…remember, always in present. "Thank you God because I am perfectly healthy, Thank you God because my tumor disappeared"

    Please all those who read Mari's blog, let's connect in prayer everyday at 12:00pm and at night help me also with your mind while you are in your bed. Close your eyes, imagine Maria's tumor and how it shrinks and desapears, fill all Mari's body with good cells that heal her.

    Love you and admire you with all our heart!!
    Maylen y Gabo

  3. Martha, Maylen, y Gabo,
    Thank you so much for your messages! I feel very touched and blessed to have you as my friends!
    Maylen y Gabo, I'm so appreciative of your support and your help with my healing. I promise to join you every day at noon at at night visualizing my tumor gone and me 100% healed. I know that it will happen and with the help of such wonderful people like you guys it gives me all the strength I need to conquer this challenge. I am already conquering and winning!
    Thank you my friends! I love you!

  4. Another amazing and inspirational entry Mari. I know it sounds redundant but it really, truly is! I am honored to know you and even more so to see how you are dealing with the adversity that life threw your way. I too am rooting for you. BTW, you should really run a support group or motivational group for ppl when you feel better! Wow! I hope God heals you and may you always have such grace and such a positive outlook!
    Love, Teri

  5. Thanks so much Teri! Hopefully one day I'll be able to support and help as many people as I can when they're going through a difficult time! Love, Mari

  6. A lot of times I bump into people I have not seen for a long time or actually that I have not seen since the diagnosis and they say something like how are the kids and sometimes I say fine but inside I am hurting so much because what I really want to scream is not so fine and start crying...
    Yesterday I ran into an old baseball mom from when Jorgie played at Flagami...This was more than 20 years ago and she asked if all of the kids were well and I said YES but I really wanted to say NO My eldest has a brain tumor and she is in pain and so am I and I want it all to stop now....I know you will be well and this will pass but sometimes I am so impatient...Love you ili