I was once a workaholic!

Once upon a time I was a workaholic working three jobs part time, studying at university, caring for a disabled husband and helping my dad care for my mum who had Muscular Dystrophy. I never stopped. I felt that if I stopped I would see how hard things where and never start again. I just had to keep going as my family relied on me and I was the strong one!

Funny enough… the universe had another idea. I was suffering from headaches I was blaming on my studies, and taking aspirin to relieve pain. I was 30 at the time and stopped in my tracks. I had a brain tumour the size of a golf ball….It was one big wakeup call. I saw my surgeon on Good Friday. He wanted to operate straight away…sent home to get my affairs in order and if I made it through that Easter weekend, he would operate first thing Tuesday morning. I believe I was told this as I work in for Neuro Physio Therapy practise where we dealt with rehab for patients.

The tumour was successfully removed, however, following the operation, I unfortunately I got an infection which travelled through the skull – meaning they needed to remove the affected area, and insert a plate in six months’ time. It took me five years to recover. For the first two years, I couldn’t drive; I could not cope with loud noise or making decisions. I have dyslexia and this became so much worst during this period. I tried going back to university to finish my studies; it was too soon and had a break down which lead to major depression… which would be another wakeup call I ignored.…The side effects from my brain tumour caused fatigue, and still to this day, I don’t cope well with stress or pressure.

Seven years after surgery, I trained as a makeup artist and started a small business with a girlfriend. We put an ad in the paper and booked five weddings from the first ad, which was fantastic… I love this work. But I was still struggling with everyday life… I was always looking for someone or something to make me happier or ‘whole’…Thankfully however, I realised this was not going to just happen. I need to change things; take responsibility for my own happiness and wellbeing. Firstly, I decided to improve my health and dropped 30 kilos in three months. I did a 5 km run then 10 km run and took up rock climbing (as one does when life doesn’t exactly plan out the way you intended) I did two bungee jumps in one day and decided to close down the business partnership and go out on my own, which ended a friendship. My marriage of 21 years also ended – a decision that was purely for my peace of mind. I need to stop. I felt like I walked off a cliff without knowing where I would live or even how I would support myself but everything would be ok as I just needed to trust myself….and be on my own. I had gone from being with my parents to being married; never being on my own and never really know who I was…

Being on my own for two years was fantastic; trusting that everything would be ok from running my business to paying my way in life. The biggest lesson I learnt was to trust the universe and be grateful for each moment that each day brought me. I learnt to trust myself and the decisions I made; how to say no and take time for myself – at my pace. My words to myself became “If it’s not life threating, it’s not important,” and there is always a solution to every problem.

I met my second husband 15 years ago and married six years ago. He’s such a supportive and understanding man, and our life has be a wonderful journey, full of opportunity. Opportunities – that in my former life, I would have been too scared to try…or risk! Life has opened up the world to me with travel both in Australia and oversea. I learn from and meet interesting people, and my business takes me in directions I never thought possible.

So what have I learnt over the 26 years since having a brain tumour? I’m no longer the person I was before. Every morning, I am grateful for what the day may bring. I, take time to enjoy the moments; to be still for a while and just be. To be open to opportunities and go with them and if your gut tells you otherwise be brave and listen to it! Life is good, wonderful, and enjoyable and every day I learn more……