Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Taking a step back / Pyjama Day / Griffith / Houston Genaux

Almost a year post op I watched a TED talk by Dr Jill Bolte Taylor and following that read her book 'A Stroke of Insight" I emailed her and she replied with encouragement and understanding.

I decided to see if I could study and started a dual certificate in Business and Business Admin. I wanted to get in to a neuroscience field to help find a cure for brain tumours. I was 16 months post op.

I finished that 5 weeks early and decided that I would study Adult Tertiary Preparation to a) see if I could remember anything long enough to make it through assessment and b) If I could do well enough to be able to go to University and pursue my dream. I finished at 2 years 9 months post op. I had managed somehow to score honours across the board.

On my 40th birthday I was accepted into Bachelor of Science (Clinical Science) just under 3 years post op. I started Uni just after my 3 year brain birthday and have had my ups and downs.

I had to fight a long time to stay alive. I had to fight to recover and improve enough to get here. I had to fight to due to a misunderstanding re my vision. I have just lost my lab access. I have spoken with some wonderful Lecturers and other amazing people at Griffith and at Eskitis. Some times it is hard to step back and look at the big picture. Sometimes I am trying to jump hurdles that are too far away.

I am constantly amazed and thankful for all the support and encouragement I have had from family and friends around the world.

I asked for people to be references for bursaries I was applying for and received a beautiful email from my brain buddy Houston. It reads as follows -
Julia Robertson.

I am writing this I guess to give a little testimonial about Julia, Her and I have a common ground that to some would find rather astounding because our commonalty is we are both survivors of a rare brain tumor.

We met in a group on Facebook back when the numbers of the members where in the low hundreds and remained as the little group of rare tumor survivors grew to just under a thousand over seven years, in which Julia has shared her setbacks, personnel grief and accomplishments.

Many of Julia's accomplishments are simply the example she gives to others, like myself. If I am having one of those days that everything from tying my shoestrings is difficult, if she knew I was letting that stop me I am sure she would tell me to put my chin in to the wind stand up and put one foot in front of the other just as I have told her in the past.

Well a bit about what Julia has done.

She has made a tee-shirts with a survivors logo on them that she wears while running in events which draws awareness to the condition that we both share. Her running, shows others that share surviving a brain tumor that sooner or later there is a possibility that they will also.

She 'DOES STUFF', like Youtube video's that graphically show the condition, the surgery and the statistics to show others. They will learn that having it and being in the 'wait and watch' that it is not the end of the road where you use it as an excuse, rather you will stand up, brush yourself off and recover as you discover being normal for the first time.

I know she does embroidery, because she has shown pictures of outfits she has made for her brother and she is rediscovering Photography which has had an effect on me, I may not be able to run but I have taken back up an old love of riding a bike which while I am out on the Erie Canal bike path I will take pictures as I to relearn the art of photography, because Julia can, I do not have an excuse, rather just a reason to start over, she leads and she does it very well by example.

I have failed to mention I am completely on the other side of the planet, just in case you are wondering just how far her motivation can reach. Furthering my education is back on my list because of Jewels.  
Her Friend

Houston Genaux
Rochester NY

 As I said I am constantly amazed and thankful for all the support and encouragement I have had from family and friends around the world. Things like this letter from Houston remind me of who I am, where I have come from, where I am going and most important of all, the amazing people I have coming along on this journey with me.

This is of course not meant to in any way belittle the impact and support of any of the other people in my life who have helped, supported and encouraged me along the way. Houston's email was something I had not expected and surprised me by the impact I have had on his life.

This is why I do what I do. I do it for all of these people in these photos I know and for all the others I will never get to meet.