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Who Would I Be Without Brain Cancer?

August 23rd, 2014 |

by HeidiG | Survivor: Brain Tumor    Connect

Do you ever wonder who you would be if you never experienced cancer? Read more to find out how Heidi's brain cancer changed her life.

I'm a brain cancer survivor. I was barely out of my 20's when I was first diagnosed with what was first believed to be a benign brain tumor. My oldest daughter was only a year old then. She just turned 25. She's only four years younger than when I was first diagnosed. I'm still here.

Over much of my treatment time, I felt both physically and mentally aged beyond my years. Through my various treatments and surgeries over the years I've lost the hearing in one ear, the ability to swallow on one side and certain vision abilities; my tongue is paralyzed on one side (amazingly, the other side works to the point that you mostly can't tell about the paralyzed side), and l have some memory loss. I would, of course, never have chosen to have been diagnosed with brain cancer, but the fact that I was has made me think more about the time I have in this world-who I'm with and what I'm doing while I'm here. It's taught me to take chances, because if you don't, you'll never know how successful and positive those chosen things could turn out to be. I take chances because if I don't-I can't be sure when I'll have that opportunity again. None of us possess this guarantee. We look away from life's reality. My illness gifted me that lesson at a relatively early age.

I learned to try to the best of my ability, to do sooner what I wish and am able to do now...not later. When is later? How long is that? We spend so much time doing the things we don't like doing. What about the things we do like doing?

If there's somewhere I want to travel, I don't take forever deciding about it! If I can't afford that trip at that time, I move on to realizing another travel desire...there are plenty. If I have something on my mind to say, I say it! I am not rude, I'm just not submissive. If I feel something isn't right, I address it...I don't wait. What am I waiting for? Life is too short. There are things I've wanted to do that have seemed impossible at the time, but I knew that if I didn't do them then, there was no telling if I'd be able to do them later. I've done quite a few of those things. I walked 250 miles from my house in New York to Boston to raise awareness and funding for brain cancer. During that walk, I also was able to take in the New England Fall foliage and meet amazing people along the way. I've changed my career and have become a Transformational Coach to help others going through many different life altering events in their lives. I've zip lined. I've traveled. I kayak. I'm working on writing a book, and I continue to dream. The time is now!

Do you ever wonder who you would be without your cancer?

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HeidiG's picture
Heidi Gottlieb is an accredited Transformational Coach from the Intl. Coaching Federation, an experienced marketing executive, a fundraiser, a blogger and a speaker. She’s passionate about helping others reclaim their empowered self. You can visit her and read her blog at and connect with her on IHadCancer under the username HeidiG.