I have a brain tumor.
I went to see my general practitioner back in March because I had been having migraines quite frequently, about 2 a week. Basically, every time the barometric pressure would change in the atmosphere. Typical of most doctor’s appointments, I was asked if anyone in my immediate family suffered from migraines. Answer: yes, mother. Was anyone in my family diagnosed with a brain tumor? Answer: yes, maternal grandfather. Why are you here today? Answer: I have migraines and I’m hoping it’s not a tumor.
Well, my doctor, being the wise and medically educated man that he is, ordered an MRI for me which showed a hard mass on the back of my brain, at the base of my skull. Oh crap. Bring on the concern that I have something like my grandfather. The MRI showed that SOMETHING was there, but it didn’t say WHAT was there. It was the size of a large blueberry, about 1cm by 1.5cm round. I then had to go get a CT scan of my head to try to figure out what was going on.
By this time, it was April. The CT scan came back and indeed showed that there was not just a hard mass, but indeed a tumor at the back of my skull. My general practitioner referred me to one of the best neurologists in the city of Detroit, but it wouldn’t be until June 4. May was a rough month, but it was a month that I spent time praying and reflecting on God.
A lot can go through your mind when you have a month to process what could happen. What if I have cancer? What will happen to my kids? Will my husband be able to handle it all by himself? (because I have to go immediately to morbid) Thankfully, through this time, my Bible study group was reading through the book of Proverbs, which is packed full of Godly wisdom. When I started to look at my brain tumor through God’s perspective, I began to think, what if God just heals me? What if He doesn’t and He uses this journey to bring Him glory? Turning the “what if I”s into “what if God”s. Through all of it, God reminded me of one simple truth:
My circumstance does not change God’s character.
Just because I was going through something hard, does not mean that all of a sudden He was cruel. God was and is still good. He doesn’t have to answer to me or anyone. Yes, I have a brain tumor, but that doesn’t mean it changes who He is.
Back to the tumor… I went and saw the neurologist. After looking at my scans, the doctor told me yes, it is a tumor, which just means it’s a mass in my head. The mass is not living, meaning he believes it is filled with dead blood, due to a childhood injury, since the tumor seemed to have grown along the side of my brain and with my skull. Basically, he believes that when kids get a head injury, the body will attack the brain bleed, calcifying the blood, to prevent further injury. However, where it is located, it has nothing to do with my migraines. We just happened to come across it in the process. Crazy right?!
In this scrolling mindset that we have in our culture, we quickly move onto the next thought and next idea. We don’t take time to remember. I easily forget the faithfulness of God when the next thing comes along, and I turn it all into, “woe is me!” Kind of gives me perspective to the Israelites in the book of Exodus. One minute they are like, “God is our redeemer! He is so good!” The next minute, “Moses is taking too long. Let’s worship a golden cow.” How quickly we also forget the goodness of God.
I still have the tumor. It’s not going anywhere. I still have my God. He’s not going anywhere. God didn’t get rid of my tumor, but He did give me peace and reminded me of His character when I could have easily been freaking out. The tumor is a blessing. The Lord reminded me of His goodness, and I hope I don’t forget the next time something happens… because let’s face it. It will.
***The injury we believe caused the tumor: When I was 10, my family had about 35 pine trees cut down on their one acre of land in Texas. Pine trees in the south are about 6 feet in circumference and 2.5 stories tall. They are big. Any way, it was summer, so my two older brothers, and I were inside watching international sports. We see the Scottish log rolling competition. If you aren’t familiar, it’s where two men get on opposite sides of a log, which is in the water, and run in an attempt to get the other person to fall off. Think king of the mountain, but with a log. Well, being the geniuses that we were, we were like, “we have all these trees in our yard until the lumber guys pick them up… we can totally do this.”
My brothers, who are 3 and 5 years older than me, start running backwards, moving the log down the slight decline in our backyard. It moves faster and faster, when I start yelling for the boys to slow down, slow down, SLOW DOWN!!! All of a sudden, my feet fly out from underneath me, and I landed with clunk head-first into the log we were running on. The next thing I remember, I’m waking up in my room a few hours later. Apparently, I hit my head so hard I blacked out. Hence, the calcified blood on my brain.
Photo used by permission by Richard Elzey