This birthday definitely hit differently than the rest. I am sooooo thankful to be ALIVE - physically, mentally and spiritually! Life has not been easy by any means but it is sweeter and fuller. Trevor, my sister, brother-in-law, and I went to Napa for my redo birthday. Backstory: 2021 Trevor was in the hospital , 2022 we went to Napa but I was in bad shape from the giant alien in my brain. I couldn’t even eat my dinner at one of the nicest steakhouses in Napa and all I wanted to do was sleep. This year we initially canceled because of family illness but by a MIRACLE we got to go. The weirdest thing ever was it truly was a redo because we were seated at the same table at Mumm and the steakhouse by total chance. We had great food and laughed all day. My sister and Trevor literally cry- laughed. I just kept thinking what a gift it was to be there. I am happy that I just made it through the hardest year of my life and I can say I feel blessed and still have a smile on my face.
It ends there, in this picture and starts here, in the Now. I no longer feel fear when looking at my MRI. Now I feel strength.
I used to think I had a learning disability because I would practice over and over and still forget my song lyrics and chords. I told myself I could not perform because I wasn’t cut out for it, I couldn’t even remember my own songs. Over the past few years my passion slowly slipped away. This alien thing was the reason. Pushing on my frontal lobe, taking away so many of my skills and dreams. I was hijacked and had no control of my own brain. Even scarier, I didn’t know it was happening.
I started playing piano again one week after brain surgery. A whole song poured out of me in 20 minutes like it was waiting there the whole time. It’s a song about what I went through and it’s the most honest song I have ever written. To this day, music and songs flow out without effort, even in my dreams. I can remember my songs and sing/play like never before. It is one of the blessings in this. To be an artist and go through an extremely traumatic event is a blessing. Not only did it give me strength of a warrior but it allows me to help others through my music and my experience. It gave me more fuel to my fire than I know what to do with. I am going to take this all the way. I feel like after going through the past two years and surviving it, my possibilities are endless and there are no limitations to what I can do. For a long time I would ask, “Why me?” and now it’s changed to “Why not me?”
I am ready to share my story. Today (July 19, 2023) marks 3 weeks into my recovery from a craniotomy (brain surgery). I had a massive 3.87cm colloid brain cyst wreaking havoc in the center of my brain. This all came to be after going to my annual eye exam and not being able to read the first 3 letters. My Optometrist said “I’m going to trust my gut on this and write you a referral to a retina specialist”. Little did she know she saved my life at that moment. After failing a vision field test I was ordered an MRI on May 30th and that is when they found the brain cyst. Prior to this (about a year ago), my close friends and family noticed extreme behavior changes. I would ask the same question 3 times in a row and was unaware I was doing it which caused me to become angry with everyone. I dropped out of everything and had no interest in social interaction. Significant memory loss and trouble learning. I also slept most of the day and have no memory of any of the Dr. appointments or much of the months before. I lost the ability to cry and oddly enough, I never had headaches, the most common symptom. Right before surgery, I was plummeting into psychosis. Prior to my diagnosis, I imagine how hard it was for my family to watch me deteriorate in front of them and not know why or how to help me. It is scary to think what would have happened if I didn’t have the eye exam. I am still trying to process everything and my recovery is going well (it started out really really rough). Writing music is one of the things I can do and I have written songs about my experience. This has changed me forever in a good way and I cannot wait to get back out there and live life to the absolute fullest. PLEASE get your screenings because you never know if it could save your life