About 3 weeks ago
A friend of mine went for an eye test as she was having troubles with her vision. From there, an MRI was then ordered for further information. Sunday 21st August she had her MRI where they found a brain tumour. From an eye test, to a brain tumour, in just over a week, can you imagine this?
Luckily, in this case it was a tumour which wasn’t active but because of the size it now was resulted in a build up of fluid in her brain which was pushing on the optic nerve, this isn’t good! Doctors were amazed she was still functioning with minor symptoms. This inspired an inner reassurance of how strong she was!
I felt honoured to be privvy to the information she had received and how open she was with the information to me, considering the nature of the situation. Respectfully I didn’t want to press, ensuring space for her to come to terms with the news she had been given. While this isn’t my story to share (and i’m not), I wanted to share a background and why I felt deeply and profoundly inspired to write about what I saw, for it was tremendous and I believe holds a great deal of inspiration for all of us, an example of sorts. One i’ll never forget.
Take a second to appreciate the situation
Let’s just go back for a minute, imagine you’ve been in the same situation, had some eye trouble, gone for an eye test, been sent for an unexpected MRI. That alone would be enough to worry nearly anybody. MRI in my opinion is a serious 3 letters. I know my friend had worries and apprehensions about the MRI, as would anybody, but with a great deal of support around her, she knew in the end she would be fine.
The response to my message later that day asking how the MRI went was “Not good hun unfortunately”. I wasn’t sure what that exactly meant, but was hoping it wasn’t too bad. I asked what happened but there wasn’t a response. I immediately tried not to worry – I knew it wouldn’t do any good, but knew just to let it be, I respected she would tell me when / if she was ready.
The next day I asked if she was ok. I was picking up on worried feelings and some tension. (I have the ability to feel people sometimes) Replying she was busy and then “they found something on the MRI”… I was worried to know what it was, yet eager to know so I could properly work out how best to support her and be there if needed. “So they know what it is?” I asked, unsure of how else to pursue without seeming pushy or intrusive. “Yes and no, it’s very rare but it’s benign so they won’t know what exactly it is until they cut it out and test it” – Benign…. a small wave of relief washed over me! I knew she had been sick for a little while, having some issues and seeing the doc, I asked if this is what has been causing her to get sick. “It’s a slow growing tumour. It’s been there a while” a moment of realisation and my stomach dropped “so it’s in your brain?” trying desperately NOT to show negativity or a pessimistic attitude but rather compassion, warmth, positivity and support, yet this moment of shock took me a second to comprehend what this had come to possibly be yet was said so nonchalantly. (Someone removed and outside of the situation, an onlooker so to speak, I was shocked… can you imagine what was going through her mind?) I’m very aware of these things, especially in times like these, to be receptive and not express too much outwardly until you feel the situation. Her response came back “Sounds worse then it is there’s a lot of negatives but a lot of positivies aswell, it was a lucky find really it could have been a lot worse”.
I was already blown away by her beautiful attitude towards life before this. I had recently witnessed her truly blossom, but this, this was a whole new level and I was INSTANTLY uplifted by her outlook. She said she was doing really well, everyone else not so much, but granted she realised she probably hadn’t processed it properly yet. I knew I could immediately interject positivity and support, encouraging with confident words and back her attitude with all I had, but I still was blown away.
In life, when we get bad news, most of the time, we tend to dwell on it. (That used to be my belief as that’s what I saw, even though most of the time I managed to do the opposite, but nobody is perfect) While I can see there is a great deal more positivity in today’s world, there are still a great deal of people who will play the role of the victim and focus on the ‘poor me’ attitude. There was ZERO of that coming from this beautiful woman. I wasn’t surprised by her reaction and I told her so too, she needed to know just how incredible she was, how strong I knew she could be and this was a typical response coming from her, but I was still amazed. Her attitude towards this subsided any fears or worries I may have had after finding out my friend had just found out she had a brain tumour and would be operated on in a week.
She didn’t want to think about whether or not there were any dangers to her immediate health after I asked which was totally understandable, “it’s in a good spot but it’s between my spine and my brain so I may have ongoing issues with coordination etc but their prognosis is good and optimisitic.” I didn’t want to push anymore, thought it wasn’t my business, I cared and felt like I had enough info to be able to help, support and uplift in the right ways, though she didn’t even seem to need it.
The conversations I have with this beautiful, familiar woman always uplifted my heart and gave me such insight into life. She just has a ‘way’ of saying things, her perspective on things would always have me feeling like I’d stepped through an unforseen obstacle and been enlightened into what was unknown prior to speaking with her. It wasn’t just me, she was gaining her own clarity throughout our conversations, and sharing when she did, when she’d learned something, so open to learning and growing, developing and understanding, she is a positive wonder and I relish the conversations we have.
Looking through her news feed, there were so many positive messages and status updates. Perspectives about life, about making the most of situations, focusing on the good, her beautiful kids, her family, gratitude and also one of vulnerability. Though I would love to share the post of where she has opened up about her worries, her fears and the day it managed to override all of her incredible positive energy, (it’s to be expected, we’re human after all) that isn’t my story to share, and will be left for her to share her own story if and when she chooses to, but it was a raw post. It was full of different concerns, frustrations, uncertainties yet still laced with positives. It was a BEAUTIFUL post and a side to her I hadn’t seen before. It was the utmost perfect post for her 36 hrs before her impending brain surgery, there was zero pity party or poor me, simply opening up and being honest, vulnerable. There is something truly extraordinary about vulnerability and allowing yourself to show your vulnerable side, it’s real, it’s true and it’s wonderful. Why was it perfect? Well for all the reasons above, but for more, it allowed us to get behind her, to add our words of support, encouragement, love, compassion, warmth, understanding and blessings for her. Who wouldn’t have gone in for surgery feeling slightly better (even if only subconsciously) while the rest of life plays out in front of you consciously? Another reason, it’s amazing to witness others come together for a united cause, to support and share love, it’s uplifting and I wish there was more of it.
Hearing her voice
I was actually going to be in town from interstate the day she was going in for surgery. We had previously planned to meet up on the Monday and reconnect physically not just through social media, we hadn’t seen each other since high school, about 14 years ago (though there was a brief encounter once along the way). I was excited to be able to see her again and wrap my arms around her, but circumstances would now have her in hospital. I reminded her of the plans we had, appreciating and understanding full well it was a detail she may not have remembered. I offered a visitor, if she wanted but if not full and well I understood.
While I wanted to take advantage of the situation of me being in town, a couple of days prior, we chatted on the phone, I asked how she was and I was met with this speedy, upbeat, positive voice on the other end of the phone. I was almost lost for words, sounding busy with loads to organise (as one could imagine) there was just pure and unblemished positivity about what would be, no unsure pauses or silences, it was like an outpour of info all been waiting to come out. Although I had read SO much positivity and seen such an incredible attitude towards the whole situation, part of me half expected to hear some kind of waivering emotion on the other end of the line with the date being so close but it just wasn’t there, and again, i was left feeling just wholly astonished (in a completely mesmerising way). Even though I have positive words of affirmation and am always trying to say the most uplifting and positive things, I struggled to match her positive intensity – I had to step it up a level, it was unknown and almost uncomfortable for me, it was either that or I would revert and be lost for words, the only words I probably would have been able to muster in this sense was “I don’t know what to say”, but I didn’t want to say that, I didn’t want to add ANY doubt, uncertainty or fear of what wasn’t hers. While it wasn’t hard for me to tell her how proud I was of her, I was awestruck and told her how amazing she was to just have such an amazing attitude towards everything and how much of an incredible role model she is for her children. I got off the phone and was just reeling, totally bemused by what had just happened.
WHAT AN IDOL!!
She thought it was best not to catch up, just due to timing and the unknown really, which I totally understood. While there was a fleeting feeling of disappointment I wouldn’t get to see her (yet) I knew it wasn’t the last opportunity we would get.
On the day of, I left her with well wishes and sent her healing thoughts.
I had every expectation everything would be fine.
I’d managed to send through a couple of messages a few days after surgery, trying to give her space for recovery without intrusions, I could only imagine she would have had so many other messages asking how she was also.
I really had a deep desire to do a post about what I had witnessed over the past couple of weeks. I was so inspired, so deeply moved by one persons attitudes towards what could possibly be one of the scariest times in your life, there was so much to learn and I wanted to write about it, but it wasn’t my story to share. Thought I really only wanted to write about my perception, my perspective of what I had seen and how I felt we could all learn a lesson from it, I fully respected this to be a private matter, one which needed to be treated gracefully.
After yet another fantastic conversation today, I was given blessings to write my feelings and thoughts, to which I am utterly and eternally grateful for, I hold such dear thoughts and feelings towards her, it’s an honour to be able to write about it.
What can we learn?
The lesson I saw in all of this, particularly to share was no matter what we are faced in life, the adversities, challenges, obstacles, catastophes, devastations, disasters; how we choose to face them will ultimately steer who we become and the direction in which you face everything in your life.
Using my beautiful friend as an example, there was a little over a week from her eye test to her brain surgery, in that time, she could have completely fallen in a heap, locked herself in the bedroom and cried herself silly, inconsolably. She could have turned to alcohol to drown her sorrows feeling “why me” and felt sorry for herself the whole time. She could have neglected her children, turning momentarily inwards forgetting about the rest of the world and that there is more to life than what was going on in her world right there, right then. Don’t get me wrong, doing this IS a way of coping, and god knows I’ve done some of them and how each person copes with these things is different each and every time, there is no ‘right way’ or ‘wrong way’ and i’m not trying to preach that. The point I’m trying to make here, is that while this was a great situation in what could have been terrible, this beautiful woman, picked up her feet, kept her back straight and took it head on. Staying positive and not dwelling on the negatives, finding SO many positives out of the whole situation, stating all of the incredible things she was grateful for and all the beautiful things she had in her life, THIS is what happened, and THIS is the perfect example of choosing how you respond to a situation. I was shown and reminded ‘Life is 90% what happens TO you and 10% how you react to it’. You have a choice! Every. Single. Time.
And my dear beautiful friend – you’ve taken that 10% and completely smashed it. You’ve completely reminded me of all the wonderous things in this world and how your attitude alone towards what happens can truly create something special.
You are such an inspiration and I’m so grateful to have you back in my life, I didn’t realise 15 years ago how pivotal of a role you would play in my life, but gorgeous, wonderful woman, you’ve given me a world full of gold.
For your presence, your words, your love, your support, your graciousness, YOU, I am utterly so blessed, thank you for being you.
I’m so excited to watch you blossom.
Shine on beautiful, you are extraordinary!