Vanice Miorelli Age Group (If you are a caregiver/family member please check Caregiver/Family Member)
Adult: 21 and overDescribe your art here - type of art, techniques and materials used, what your art represents and what it means to you.
This is a Writing - in First Person POV - about a specific period of my life. It does mean a lot to me, simply because this is the way I have found to bring out the emotions I had bottled inside during such a long time. It’s been four years. It required me great courage and resilience, and I am truly grateful for having allowed myself to open up and heal my inner self with such a powerful tool. This has brought significance to my life.
Right now I’m in Brazil, in the process of recovering from my third brain tumor removal surgery, which I underwent the last 5th of May, when two tumors were successfully removed. A new rebirth. My neurosurgeon is an angel on earth. I am so grateful!
Do not doubt the potential which you carry within yourself. This is the powerful mantra I’ve adopted after being diagnosed with multiple brain tumours.
I was 33-years-old and living in Brazil when I first began having symptoms of what would be revealed as multiple meningiomas. For around six months, I had constant and persistent headaches, nausea, memory problems, weakness, fatigue, painful teeth, blurred vision and vertigo. An MRI scan revealed that I had five brain tumours, one of which was 6cm in diameter.
Unlike most people, I was sadly not surprised to receive such a devastating diagnosis. My older sister had been diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2015. Since my own diagnosis in 2017, my older brother in Brazil was also diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2019.
Following investigations in Brazil and in England, it is thought that my family’s tumours are genetic. This is a rare condition and a scientific paper is being written by my medical team in Brazil.
Although a tumour wasn’t unexpected, to find out that I had five of them was awful. It was on my 33rd birthday and it was terrible. I had a party a few days later just to ensure that I could see all of my friends and in case I didn’t make it back after the surgery.
I stared blankly at the medical team and I had no reaction whatsoever. I briefly thought – why me and why five? But then I thought – why should it be happening to someone else? I had been puzzled for so long about the symptoms I had been having – but here was my answer.
This would become an experience which completely changed the course of my life and my dreams in every single way.
I had surgery to remove one of the tumours a few weeks later and it was cancerous. I spent a week in hospital before I could go home to recover.
I would look myself in the mirror and not recognise my face. I was swollen, covered with acne and struggling to keep my head up. My memory was also not the same as it was before. The discomfort was there all of the time.
It was two weeks or so before I was able to go outside for a walk as I was hiding myself away and avoiding talking to people – I just wanted to be alone.
Five months later I returned to hospital to have the second operation to remove the tumour on the other side of my brain. I lost a lot of blood and developed anemia so I needed a blood transfusion. The cut required 55 stitches.
It was between the first and this second operation that my 10-year marriage began to feel the strain. Everything had completely changed and I decided to get divorced. I needed to escape of my inner turmoil. I deserved peace.
After this surgery, I was definitely much more emotional – I was depressed. It was without a doubt the hardest time for me. I felt completely vulnerable and hopeless. I hated the episodes of memory loss I was experiencing.
I needed to bring the light back into my life – I deserved to be both happy and healthy. Then I decided that I would grieve all of my pain together for all that had happened in the last few months. After that then I would be a new woman. So that’s what I did. I allowed myself to suffer, to cry and to feel all that unimaginable pain. I remember repeating to myself: you will get there - it’s just a bit more, be brave.
That persistence gave place to resilience, acceptance, gratitude and so much hope. This was the start of a new chapter in my life – one which would be filled with grace and purpose where all the pain was transformed into eagerness for a new life.
18 months after, I had decided to move to the UK. I had problems securing work in Brazil as I was used to be a business partner with my ex husband.
Moving to the UK was a big decision – I didn’t want to be away from my family but I decided to chase my dream of a life in Europe.
The early days after moving were incredibly difficult, especially because of my memory problems and I found it hard to concentrate. I would often leaving work crying and avoid people there or even phone calls from my loved ones in Brazil.
But I soon made some friends and learnt to adapt to the new lifestyle, the language and even the weather! I am determined – I made a decision to make myself better and I push myself to do that.
I still have side-effects including frequent headaches, memory issues and turbulent emotions.
I can’t say it’s an easy life. I still have to cope with some consequences of the surgeries such as memory problems and headaches. It’s even hard to explain and I’m sure you can only understand it completely if you have been through something similar yourself.
On the other hand, I can frankly say I’m much happier now than I was before my tumours and, undoubtedly, they were the only reason of the greatest change of my life. My heart is filled with the best feeling ever: gratitude.
Nowadays I am in a new very happy relationship.
To anyone else going through this experience, I would say to them that this too shall pass, to keep strong, to meditate and be resilient, to love, to live in the now, and remember that anything is possible. There is life after (and during) brain tumors. ♥️
Please include your age, tumor type and date of diagnosis (patients & survivors only) and let us know how art has impacted your life.
Vanice, female, 37 years old, multiple meningiomas diagnosed in May 2017.
3 Brain tumour removal surgeries.