How a brain tumour was the best thing to happen to me

If you’ve scoured the few posts on my blog so far, you’d have stumbled upon Frank – my brain tumour. Frank was successfully evacuated from my skull last year, and as much as last year was the worst year of my life, looking back, I think it could have doubled up as the best year of my life too.

You can read a detailed account of my experience with Frank here but to recap in the interests of getting to my point, I found out that I had an unwelcome guest living in my head for the past roughly 17 years. I doubt i’ll ever forget looking through MRI scans of my brain whilst huddled in a stairway vestibule, alone and shit scared about what the images in front of me meant and whether or not i’d see the year out, and if I did, if i’d be the same person I was at that current point.

Fast forward 15 months, here I am, tumour free and a new man (I hope). I owe my life, literally, to one of the best surgeons out there and his team. I battle to put this into words as how could I possibly thank someone adequately for changing the trajectory of my life? I hope I can one day adequately express my gratitude to Dr Wasserman. Maybe this decision of mine to travel the world is in some small, convoluted way, a way of saying thanks?

Here I am now, planning this adventure, and I find myself asking whether or not I would have embarked on this journey if I hadn’t had the wind knocked out of my sails with Frank?

If i’m honest with myself, I don’t think I would have.

Why? Well, we’ve all done it.We decide we want something to happen and then we wait. We wait for a sign or for somebody to say ‘go ahead and do it’, that we have their permission. Or that, by sheer chance that the very thing we want will create itself; that it will tap dance its way into our lives and yell “surprise”.

But then nothing happens.

Then Frank happened. This earth-shattering, devastating news hit me and I remember vividly thinking, “what have you got to show for your life?” I know i’ve always wanted to travel. I know I enjoy exploring, I know that the thought of exploring a foreign city does things to the hairs on my neck that I can’t even begin to put into words and that getting onto a plane plays with those whispery parts of my heart and soul to the point my legs shake with excitement.

It was then that I realised that if I am able to walk away from this experience, knowing what I know now – what this tumour made me realise, that I have to live this dream.

And now, here I stand, 46 days away from my next chapter, and I feel perversely thankful that this happened to me, for I truly doubt i’d have ever lived my dream if it weren’t for this pothole in my path. It is at this point that I realise that the thing that we truly want in our lives is on hold because it is up to us… we are waiting for ourselves.