Roslind O’Neill (38) writes to share her journey following diagnosis of a spinal cord tumour.. She writes to fill a gap in the literature wanting to document her experience in order to assist others living with ependymoma cancer. She writes to better understand the personal impact that both the diagnosis and subsequent spinal cord injury has had on her.
I was travelling home from work on the Northern Express Bus feeling tired. My head felt heavy, like a bowling ball. I propped it against the window to relieve the tension in my neck. Being a working mum with a two year old and a four year old was exhausting. The bus ride had become my "me time." But it was also the place where my mind went straight to the same questions that bubbled up and plagued me whenever I had a moment to myself. Would it come back? When would it come back? What if they couldn't operate again? What if it spread? What if they operate again and I end up a quadriplegic? What if I die? What about my kids?
Sitting silently on the bus playing out the “what ifs” I am left feeling defeated, exhausted and broken. I know I need a break from the questions, from the fear. It occurs to me that I am expending so much energy worrying about the tumour, it is taking the joy from every day. What if I was hit and killed by a bus instead, then I would have wasted all that time worrying about a tumour when I should have been worried about the bus… And so I gave myself permission to not think for one day about tumours, wheelchairs or dying. I would just have a regular day. I could always get back to the “what ifs” the day after.
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