Wednesday, April 13, 2011

One Year

At 10:15am one year ago, I received a phone call that would forever change my life. I was driving from my first MRI appointment, headed back to work, when a doctor told me that I had a large brain tumor. She told me they were holding an angio machine for me and I needed to come back to the clinic as soon as possible for immediate testing. They thought I had a cluster of veins - an arteriovenous malformation - within my brain tumor and that I had life threatening brain hemorrhaging. Those were her words.

After accidentally running through an intersection, I proceeded to pull the car to the side of the road. She never asked me what I was doing before blurting out the diagnosis. She did not ask if I was seated or if it was a good time. I didn't cry immediately, instead, I asked her if I was going to die. She said, "We hope not, but you need to get back here as soon as you possibly can."

When I hung up the phone with the doctor, I instantly dialed Danny's number. The second I heard his voice on the other line I lost it. Sobbing, I told him that I have a large brain tumor, and brain hemorrhaging and I reiterated the conversation with the doctor. He told me he'd be there in 2.5 hours, the distance between us. I then called my parents.

My mom answered the phone. I could barely speak. All I could manage was to tell her my location and that I couldn't drive. I heard my mom emphatically yell my father's name. We hung up the phone. As I waited and sobbed, I looked out the windows of my car, somehow noticing that my car was still in drive. I shut the engine off. I was on the side of HWY 97. It was a beautifully crisp day. There were cherry blossoms all around me. All I could think of were the cars passing me on the road. I thought about how no one would know why my particular car would be stopped. People were going about their day, headed to work, taking their kids to gymnastics, and here I was with the worst news I'd ever heard. I didn't know if I was going to live or die.

I will never forget how I felt. I'll never forget having to tell Danny and my parents. I was hysterical. I was absolutely devastated to break the horrible news, I knew that they were all going to be crushed and afraid. I cried for that. I cried for the pain that I knew they would feel. I cried because they're all so wonderful and they didn't deserve this stress, this change, this challenge. As I was waiting for my parents to come help me get back to the hospital, I deeply understood the magnitude of what was happening. I didn't know all of the medical details, or what was to come next, but I understood the severity and at that moment I gained an instant comprehension of the value of life.


  1. Thanks so for sharing. I too received a doctor's call while I was on the road, but she did give me time to pull over and park before telling me there was no way she would do radiation on my chest, as there was too large an area involved. She also said she had already talked to my oncologist and I shouldn't worry, because I could still have a stem cell transplant. Five minutes and seven seconds. I noted that call. I never note time spent on a call.

    By the time I finished driving home and told Walt, we were both crushed. Sometimes the medical profession forgets its impact on the patient.

    Toward a kinder world,
    Dee Dee

  2. you are a beautiful woman, love your stories

  3. I'll never forget that day. Half a world away and I woke up to the worst message I've seen... "Trip is off. I have a brain tumor."

    You're amazing.

  4. Hearing the story agian I have tears. Jessica we don't know what path opur lives will take. If I ever find myself in your shows I hope that I can be 1/2 the inspiration you are to me and other around you. Andre` and I are so blessed to have crossed pathes with you and your family. Keep smiling and the faith that there is going to be a cure for your medical condition why not now!
    Love Rich and Andre`


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