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How Olivia Finds Strength through her Brain Tumor Diagnosis

How Olivia Finds Strength through her Brain Tumor Diagnosis

I was diagnosed with a brain tumor after having a seizure while coaching my rowing team. I was rushed to the hopsital and within 4 hours they found a tumor in my right frontal lobe. I stayed overnight in the ICU to monitor my seizure and make sure it didn’t happen again. I was told by doctors that I had to get brain surgery asap to remove the tumor. Sadly, was also told no caffeine or alcohol, and seizure protocol say can’t drive for 6 months from your last seizure.

I’m 23. Just graduated from college a year ago with a degree in Visual Communication Design. I’m a graphic designer and photographer for a non-profit organization. I’m also an assistant rowing coach for a collegiate team and adult Learn-to-Row coach as well as a masters rower. I was excelling in my career and in a good grove in my life. I have a wonderful fiancé and was making plans for our future. I’ve been an athlete my whole life starting with swimming and transitioning to rowing in college.

I had my surgery 3 weeks after leaving the ICU. I was blessed with a great neurosurgeon and team that took great care of me. I was brave in my parents eyes but I must say I was scared. I didn’t know what to expect and I just started my life. My dad joked with me to relieve the nerves before my surgery “you don’t want to be Sinéad O'Connor?” Of course, in my generation we don’t know who she is. Luckily, no Sinead O’Connor! My friends and family were supportive and stayed close through the whole process. That kept me brave and stay strong through my recovery process.

Now, my tumor has been removed and discovered by pathology it was a tumor but, they don’t know what it is and can’t categorize it. My tumor was sent to the National Institute of Health for further analysis.

Through this life changing event, I’ve never realized how strong my community was and how important the little things are for people going through a hard time. Even as simple, my mom holding my hand as I laid in a hopsital bed. My advice is build a strong community around you no matter how big or small. If someone you know is going through a hard time, give them a hug, bring them a book you love, or send a text of you thinking of them. The little things go a long way and could make them forget the hard things in their life for a moment.

I was reminded of this quote in Philippians 3:13-14, “...I focus on this one thing. Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Never give up! It’s never over until it’s over. Stay strong and finish the race no matter how hard it is! - Olivia, Indiana

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