Finding Purpose in the Darkness


Recently my family and I marked a very special moment in our lives. August 16th, 2019 was the 1 year anniversary of my craniotomy to remove a 5 cm (racket-ball sized) non-cancerous meningioma brain tumor. My doctors tell me that a meningioma is extremely slow growing and one of my size could have been there for 10 years before we discovered it last summer.

Sure - I had a few symptoms over the years that could have possibly accelerated its discovery, like the year I suddenly had vertigo or how I would get this sharp pain in my head every time I laughed at my husband’s jokes (and he is a really funny guy so that was a regular occurrence). But both these things were easily treated with decongestants as odd as that sounds. One day last Spring was different however. I awoke to find that I had intense nerve pain running up and down my left arm. I started physical therapy shortly after that and it did make a difference. Then one day half my face went numb and suddenly I was experiencing for the first time in my life real anxiety, claustophobia, and insomnia seemingly overnight. After realizing that my symptoms were most likely neurological in nature, my husband strongly urged me to go see a neurologist. It was my neurologist that was the first to order the MRI that you see above. Finally we had a terrifying answer to what was happening to my body.

Now that I am on the other side of this experience and thankfully completely healed (without any lingering side effects) and back to all the things I love to do especially painting. I can tell you that my outlook on life has been transformed. I do not regret what happened to me because it brought into better focus what was most important in my life; namely my relationships with my family and friends, my faith and my calling as an artist. I have read that the reason suffering exists in this world is to hollow you out from the inside so that you have more room for love. This is exactly what happened to me. I am a better person today than I was before and I will not squander a single moment of my life going forward because every day is indeed a precious gift. I ask myself now, “am I living up to my potential”? Am I working as hard as I can on my {insert here}; health, fitness, relationships, art, etc.?

We have decided as a family to celebrate August 16th with an annual retreat. And furthermore, I am claiming August 16th as a day of self reflection and a review on the progress of my New Year’s goals that I set without fail every year. And it occurred to me that if I shared my story with all of you, that perhaps I could inspire you to find the light in a difficult anniversary of your own.

Suffering is like the setting in a diamond ring, without the setting you would not notice how brilliant the diamond is. Simply put, without the difficult times in our lives we would not truly appreciate the good.

No matter what you are going through in life right now, I believe you can find the light to get through it. Do yourself a favor and reclaim your own day. Life is too precious to not embrace all of it.