Monday, June 11, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

In honor of my boy...

"A dog doesn't care if you're rich or poor, educated or illiterate, clever or dull. Give him your heart and he will give you his."--John Grogan

It is with a heavy heart that I share my Koufax passed away peacefully today. 

I was lucky to have such a wonderful big lug of loyal love enrich my life for the last 12 years & 10 months.

Koufax was a companion and my champion canine caregiver encouraging me every step of the way during both of my meningioma recoveries.

He was an easy subject to often write about with his quirky ways.

I always appreciated your support when it was my turn to take care of him the last several years when diabetes and blindness throw a few more curve balls our way.

We both were damn lucky to get second chances.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

What's in a name?!

Many of us like to name our meningioma invaders; others not so much.
I have always referred to mine as the uninvited roommate overstaying its welcome. 

For some, bestowing a name upon their tumor has given them a sense of control. 
For others, a few choice words is what's needed most.

Over the years, Meningioma Mommas' second family members have shared the following:

Fat bastard
Tina Tumor
Puffed up muffin
Get the fuck out
The Toad
Willie because he's always on my mind
Minnie me
The Beast
Little hitchhiker
Fred  I want you dead and out of my head
Dopey ,Sneezy, Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Bashful, Doc--yes, there are seven
Freddy the Freeloader

How about you? 

To name or not to name?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

"It's not related."

"You're just tired."
"You're over-reacting."
"You're hormonal."
"You're stressed."

Yes IT is and NO we're NOT!

 Enough already.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

Supports Meningioma Specific Research

Still in time for May's Brain Tumor Awareness Month, Curveball:When Life Throws You a Brain Tumor is now available as an ebook on Kindle and the Nook! 

This is another way to donate even more funding to meningioma research while reaching those of you all around the globe.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

"No person was ever honored for what he received, but for what he gave."--Calvin Coolidge 

Thank you to meningioma survivor, Tanya Stearns and Gene Wayland at a Cut Above Graphics for selecting Meningioma Mommas to receive 10% of all proceeds from the sale of beautifully designed Meningioma Survivor t-shirts and stickers. For all the information and how to order, go to:!/pages/A-Cut-Above-Graphics/230482353654084

Monday, May 7, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

Meningioma Monday...
"Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” — Albert Einstein

I admire creative people especially those with an artistic bent. Being one who works with words, it was only natural to wonder if I would lose the ability to write after my meningioma surgeries. Thankfully, time and lots of healing proved my doubts and fears wrong.

Despite my meningioma, I'm still able to pursue my craft. Along my meningioma journey I've been fortunate to cross paths with other meningioma survivors who are still able to pursue their creative passions.

Today's Meningioma Monday "Creative Cranium" shout out goes to Jinx Garza, a meningioma survivor who is an amazing glass bead artist. You can own an original Jinx piece, which will also support meningioma research during Brain Tumor Awareness Month.

Check her craft out at:

Jinx also blogs about her meningioma journey at:

Monday, April 30, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

Meningioma on My Mind Revisited...

It's been four years since the following guest commentary ran in the Denver Post.

What's changed? 

Thankfully, Brain Tumor Awareness is celebrated for the entire month of May instead of just a week. 

I personally believe there is greater awareness for brain tumors, but they still remain understudied and underfunded.

Unfortunately, what continues to remain unchanged is a cure for the more than 120-plus brain tumors. 

How do you plan to celebrate Brain Tumor Awareness Month?

As always, thanks for sharing.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

It's easy to let all the accompanying baggage of a meningioma bog us down so I thought I'd pass along an exercise one of my Meningioma Mommas shared with me. No heavy lifting to worry about--this one allows you to release mental steam. Enjoy and if you have a chance, share yours.


It cannot cripple _________________.

It cannot shatter__________________.

It cannot corrode__________________.

It cannot destroy___________________.

It cannot kill_______________________.

It cannot suppress___________________.

It cannot silence_____________________.

It cannot invade______________________.

It cannot steal_______________________.

It cannot conquer_____________________.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

Cooking for a Cure!
Woo hoo, the Meningioma Match is back!!! :D :D :D

With National Brain Tumor Awareness Month kicking off May 1, Meningioma Mommas has a wonderful opportunity to further expand our meningioma research reach.

I'm currently in discussions with Dr. John Y. K. Lee who is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Medical Director for Penn Gamma Knife at Pennsylvania Hospital.

Dr. Lee's years of research has resulted in refining an algorithm that could have the ability to predict higher grade meningiomas earlier and eventually lead to extending a patient's survival by giving doctors the opportunity to intervene when the tumors are smaller. This would also lead to significantly reducing wait-and-watch time or potentially eliminating it all together.

Needless to say, this is beyond exciting and the fact that Meningioma Mommas could be instrumental in funding this research is just as thrilling. Dr. Lee’s enthusiasm and passion for meningiomas is contagious. Not only is he brilliant, he has youth on his side to benefit us for a very long time.

Just a small catch--we need $$$ to kick-start this project. Fortunately, our Cookbook Meningioma Match is back. With meningiomas making the National and International news this week, one of our very own has offered to match dollar for dollar every time a Feeding the Mind Soul Cookbook is sold. We need to raise $5,000-$10,000 for seed money.  I'm convinced this is DOABLE. Let’s move these once and for all while making a statement to Dr. Lee Young during National Brain Tumor Awareness Month! :D :) :D

Finally, not to twist any one's arm or anything, but for those savvy social media types out there (yes, YOU!), please feel share to pass along. Let's join together to combat this misunderstand, easily dismissed, and poorly understood tumor that affects us all.

Only $15 each or 2 for $25, which includes PRIORITY SHIPPING and excellent customer service. ;)

Order 2 ways:

Pay Pal:

Scroll to the bottom of the link to enter order

Snail mail:

Meningioma Mommas
9249 S. Broadway Blvd.
Unit 200-PMB#240
Highlands Ranch, CO 80129

Monday, April 9, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

Words to inspire and live your life as you desire.

My meningioma journey has enabled me to embrace Sir Cecil's risk taking mantra. If I can overcome the fear of having a meningioma, I can face anything. 

"Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary."--Sir Cecil Beaton

What risks and new endeavors have you taken since your brain tumor diagnosis?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

No Foolin'! Hunter's early arrival on April Fools Day eight years ago is a medical marvel I am beyond blessed to celebrate.

Happy Birthday Triple-H!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

"Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” — Albert Einstein

I admire creative people especially those with an artistic bent. Being one who works with words, it was only natural to wonder if I would lose the ability to write after my meningioma surgeries. Thankfully, time and lots of healing proved my doubts and fears wrong.

Despite my meningioma, I'm still able to pursue my craft. Along my meningioma journey I've been fortunate to cross paths with other meningioma survivors who are still able to pursue their creative passions.

Today's Meningioma Monday "Creative Cranium" shout out goes to Barbara Conway, a meningioma survivor who is an oil painting genius.

Check her out at: 

Barbara also blogs about her meningioma journey at: 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

Just because we have a meningioma doesn't mean it has to quash our creativity. 
Try your hand at a meningioma inspired haiku.

In case you don't remember, a haiku is 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables.

OK, I'll start:

Uninvited guest
Celebrating twelve years clean 
Dusty welcome mat

Monday, March 12, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

Now that we've sprung forward, that's one less hour to deal with a meningioma--the diagnosis, recovery, ongoing journey. 

With spring quickly approaching, how do you plan to further advance your healing and new lease on life?

Don't be shy, share.

Thank you!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

Mind over Meningioma

Elated to be Alive

Not about to give  up

In my own time

New improved version of the old me

Given a second chance

It's up to me

On a journey

Must continue to raise


Mellow mood

Okay if today's "To Do" list remains unfinished

New day to reach higher

Ditch the naysayers

Always press on

You are still here for a reason

Monday, February 27, 2012

Meningioma Monday..

 I want to combat meningiomas with the same ferocity my daughter displays during competition.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

"Self-sacrifice is the real miracle out of which all the reported miracles grow."--Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have no idea what it's like to be one, but I do know my own meningioma recovery wouldn't have been possible without the many who took care of me. They shoulder our burdens, take on our worries, toss and turn on our behalf, advocate when we're unable to and so much more.

When was the last time you thanked a caregiver? If you can't recall, how about now?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

Meningioma Mommas is making its mark toward their goal of donating one million dollars to fund meningioma research.

They have renewed their funding with Johns Hopkins University with a new $12,000 donation bringing the total tally to $192,000.

Thank you for celebrating this major milestone with Meningioma Mommas!

We are still far from a meningioma cure. Together we can bridge that gap.

Help us close it with a donation today!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Savoring Sweet Second Chances...

"If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance."--Andrea Boydston

Thankfully I received that chance 12 years ago when Dr. Timothy Fullagar removed my meningioma and saved my life.

Here's to celebrating my 12th second chance.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

Recipes for a meningioma cure!
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I'd love to send a cookbook to you!

Are you feeling the love this month?! I hope you are! Please help find homes for the 471 remaining cookbooks.

100% of the proceeds fund meningioma research. We need a cure!

NEW LOW PRICE!! Save $10--cookbooks are only $15 each or 2 for $25 now!!!

FEEDING THE MIND & SOUL: It's More Than Just A Cookbook is a wonderful collection of mouth watering tried and true favorites from our very own Meningioma Mommas & Poppas and their caregivers, family and friends.

Enjoy everything from a Poppa's refreshing Instant Lobotomy “Brain Teaser” to a family treasured Apple Dapple Cake “Out-Of-Your-Mind Dessert” from a Yale neurosurgeon's sister! It's a no brainer with inspiring and humorous quotes to boot in this truly one-of-a-kind cookbook.

This cookbook is perfect for moms, dads, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, grandfathers, in-laws, outlaws, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, nannies, neighbors, poker parties, book clubs, bunko groups, MOPS...

Feeding the Mind & Soul makes a great anniversary, birthday, engagement, divorce, wedding and hostess present too. Don’t forget to pick one up for your kids’ teachers, your yoga instructor, accountant, therapist, babysitter, banker teller, hairdresser, lawyer, personal trainer, life coach, postal worker, newspaper carrier, milk deliver, barber, zen master, gardener…It’s also a lovely way to honor your team of doctors.

Here's how to order today:

Send a check made payable to Meningioma Mommas to:

Meningioma Mommas
9249 S. Broadway Blvd.
Unit 200-PMB#240
Highlands Ranch, CO 80129

or use PayPal:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Before the Sun Rises...

It was 12 years ago today, but it still feels like that morning. A damp, cold, gray, Colorado winter morning when the sun had yet to rise and peak through my shutters stirring me from sleep. Instead, the high pierced shrill of a phone performed the sun’s daily ritual.

With receiver pressed firmly against my ear, an uneven, sterile voice greeted (if you could call it that) me. The unfamiliar, gravelly voice delivered a fate I still carry to this day and will until my last breath.

It only took four words.

“You have a meningioma,” the hollow voice uttered.

“A whaaaat?!” I stuttered back.

“A BRAIN TUMOR,” the voice continued, sending chills down my spine.

How do you even spell that I wanted to know as I desperately rifled through my nightstand drawer in search of a pen, a pencil—ah, heck my Mac Spice lip liner would do.

Men-in-gioma sounds more like a group of guys test-driving the latest foreign import, with all the bells and whistles, not to mention the 2.9% available financing option.

If only it could have been that simple.

The line went dead.

But surely it was me who was dead. I had become that damp, cold, gray Colorado winter morning.

Just hours later, I sat in horror as my newly appointed neurosurgeon explained the MRI I’d had the night before. Never-before-heard terms soared over my head.

Middle third sphenoid wing meningioma.

Cavernous sinus.

Lateral ventricular compression.

You’d have to be a brain surgeon to understand any of this stuff. Thankfully, the man in the overly starched, white lab coat standing in front of me was.

I forced myself to look at the snapshots of my illuminated brain. Images of a baseball-sized mass glared back at me in defiance. My husband was a major league ballplayer at the time, but I never imagined I’d be looking at the equivalent size of one in my head. Surely there had been a mix up. I was healthy, only 32 and trying to start a family. Maybe this explained my struggles to become pregnant the past year.

“You’ve probably had this tumor for over a decade,” my neurosurgeon solemnly announced.

“A decade!” I choked. I had had a “roommate” living inside of my head for 10 years? The only roommates I ever recalled having were back in college and graduate school, who shared their English Lit notes with you and gave you aspirin and a glass of water after a night of one too many beers.

I couldn’t get out of my head the Kindergarten Cop scene in which Arnold Schwarzenegger shouted, “It’s not a tumor!” I so wanted to believe this. But this wasn’t a fictional movie.

It was real life and it was mine. Surgery would be long and risky, but I didn’t have a choice. In just 8 days I would have a word I never thought would be in my vocabulary--a craniotomy.

To be continued...

p.s. And instead of a damp, cold, gray morning....we're in the middle of a blizzard!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

"A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life."--William Arthur Ward

It hasn't always been easy traversing this meningioma minefield of a journey, but I've found humor not only helpful, but extremely healing.
Humor has numerous benefits. It's been medically proven to:

*Reduce Pain.

*Decreases Stress.

*Strengthen Immune System.

Humor also has a positive impact on emotional and intellectual functioning:

• Helps put life’s trials and tribulations into healthy perspective by making them seem smaller.

• Aids us in overcoming fear.

• Allows us to take ourselves less seriously.

• Triggers our creativity.

• Burns calories!

Humor is great health care. I still can't figure out why Blue Cross and Kaiser don’t pay for it!

I now share with a few of my favorite ways to add humor to your life:

*Pretend you are a humor columnist and have to report several funny incidents daily.
*Rent funny movies.

*Buy/check out from library comedy books & tapes.

*View your life as a sitcom. Who would you cast as your family, your boss, your nosy neighbor, yourself?

*Sing your biggest problem set to your favorite song.

*Imagine Woody Allen is filming and starring in your life.

*Give hugs and smile at a stranger—it’s hard not to feel good when you’re doing something that makes you feel good too.

How do you get your daily dose of brain tumor humor?!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

"Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” — Albert Einstein

I admire creative people especially those with an artistic bent. Being one who works with words, it was only natural to wonder if I would lose the ability to write after my meningioma surgeries. Thankfully, time and lots of healing proved my doubts and fears wrong.

Despite my meningioma, I'm still able to pursue my craft. Along my meningioma journey I've been fortunate to cross paths with other meningioma survivors who are still able to pursue their creative passions.

Today's "Creative Cranium" shout out goes to Linda Roman, a meningioma survivor who is the creative genius behind Solcreations for you. Linda also pays her talent forward by supporting meningioma survivors and research.

Check her out at:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

"You have a meningioma."

"A wh-what?" I stuttered.

"How do you even spell that?"

"Men-in-gioma sound more like a group of guys test-driving the latest foreign import with all the bells and whistles, not to mention the 8.9 percent available financing option."--From intro to Curveball: When Life Throws You a Brain Tumor (Ghost Road Press)

So what exactly is this tongue twister that also happens to be the most common primary brain tumor?!

Today's Meningioma Monday features an excellent primary on meningioma. Now if I could just pronounce it properly after all these years!

Thank you to Brigham and Women's Hospital.

What is a meningioma?

A meningioma is a type of tumor that develops from the meninges, the membrane that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. There are three layers of meninges, called the dura mater, arachnoid and pia mater. Most meningiomas (90%) are categorized as benign tumors, with the remaining 10% being atypical or malignant. However, the word "benign" can be misleading in this case, as when benign tumors grow and constrict and affect the brain, they can cause disability and even be life threatening.

In many cases, benign meningiomas grow slowly. This means that depending upon where it is located, a meningioma may reach a relatively large size before it causes symptoms. Other meningiomas grow more rapidly, or have sudden growth spurts. There is no way to predict the rate of growth for a meningioma, or to know for certain how long a specific tumor was growing before diagnosis.

Most people with a meningioma will only have a tumor at only one site, but it is also possible to have several tumors growing simultaneously in different parts of the brain and spinal cord. When multiple meningiomas occur, more than one type of treatment may have to be used.

Meningiomas vary in their symptoms and appropriate treatment options depending on where they are located.

A primary brain tumor originates in the central nervous system, while metastatic brain tumors spread to the brain from other parts of the body. Meningiomas account for about 27% of primary brain tumors, making them the most common of that type.

Who is at risk?

Meningiomas are most common in people between the ages of 40 and 70. They are more common in women than in men. Among middle-aged patients, there is a marked female bias, with a female: male ratio of almost 3:1 in the brain and up to 6:1 in the spinal cord. Meningiomas are very rare in children, with pediatric cases accounting for only 1.5% of the total.

How is the diagnosis made?

Meningiomas may cause seizures, headaches, and focal neurological defects, such as arm or leg weakness, or vision loss. Patients often have subtle symptoms for a long period before the meningioma is diagnosed. Sometimes memory loss, carelessness, and unsteadiness are the only symptoms.

How are meningiomas classified?

Meningiomas were originally classified into 9 major subtypes based on their structure and form. However, more recently it’s become more common to group them into three major classes, or not to distinguish subtypes at all. Multiple classifications exist today, but the most commonly used is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) "Classification of Tumours of the Nervous System," most recently updated in 2000. The WHO 2000 Classification of Meningiomas is located here.

What difference does the location of the tumor make?

Convexity meningiomas

These grow on the surface of the brain, often toward the front. They may not produce symptoms until they reach a large size. Symptoms of a convexity meningioma are seizures, focal neurological deficits, or headaches.

Falx and Parasagittal meningiomas

The falx is a groove that runs between the two sides of the brain (front to back), and contains a large blood vessel (sagittal sinus). Parasagittal tumors lie near or close to the falx. Because of the danger of puncturing the blood vessels, removing a tumor in the falx or parasagittal region can be difficult. Large parasagittal meningiomas may result in bilateral leg weakness.

Olfactory groove meningiomas

Olfactory groove meningiomas grow along the nerves that run between the brain and the nose. These nerves allow you to smell, and so often tumors growing here cause loss of smell. If they grow large enough, olfactory groove meningiomas can also compress the nerves to the eyes, causing visual symptoms. Similarly, meningiomas growing on the optic nerve can cause visual problems, including loss of patches within your field of vision, or even blindness. They can grow to a large size prior to being diagnosed due to changes in the sense of smell and mental status changes being difficult to catch.

Sphenoid meningiomas

Sphenoid meningiomas lie behind the eyes. These tumors can cause visual problems, loss of sensation in the face, or facial numbness. Tumors in this location can sometimes involve the blood sources of the brain (e.g. cavernous sinus, or carotid arteries), making them difficult or impossible to completely remove.

Posterior fossa meningiomas

Posterior fossa tumors lie on the underside of the brain. These tumors can compress the cranial nerves causing facial symptoms or loss of hearing. Petroclival tumors can compress the trigeminal nerve, resulting in sharp pain in the face (trigeminal neuralgia) or spasms of the facial muscles. Tentorial meningiomas or those near the area where your spinal cord connects to your brain (foramen magnum) can cause headaches, or other signs of brain stem compression like trouble walking.

Intraventricular meningiomas

Intraventricular meningiomas are associated with the connected chambers of fluid that circulate throughout the central nervous system. They can block the flow of this fluid causing pressure to build up, which can produce headaches and dizziness.

Intraorbital meningiomas

Intraorbital meningiomas grow around the eye sockets of your skull and can cause pressure in the eyes to build up, giving a bulging appearance. They can also cause an increasing loss of vision.

Spinal meningiomas

Spinal meningiomas account for less than 10% of meningiomas. They tend to occur in women (with a female/ male ratio of 5:1), usually between the ages of 40 and 70. They are intradural (within or enclosed within the dura mater), extramedullary (outside or unrelated to any medulla) tumors occurring predominantly in the thoracic spine. They can cause back pain, or pain in the limbs from compression of the nerves where they run into the spinal cord.

How common is each location?

Falx or parasagittal 25%

Convexity 20%

Sphenoid wing 20%

Olfactory groove 10%

Supresellar 10%

Posterior fossa (petrosal) 10%

Intraventricular 2%

Miscellaneous (e.g., optic nerve, clivius) 3%

What factors predispose people to meningiomas?

The only known predisposing factors associated with meningiomas are exposure to radiation, and certain genetic disorders (e.g. neurofibromatosis). Some have reported an association between meningiomas and the site of a previous injury (e.g. head trauma). However, the relationship with previous head injury isn’t well understood. Some have suggested that viruses may play some role as well, but this is unsubstantiated at this point.

Meningiomas are also more common in women than in men, and have shown increased growth during pregnancy. They have hormone receptors and progesterone and estrogen may play a role in their development, but that role is still unclear.

Previous Trauma

Meningiomas have been found at the site of previous trauma (such as near a previous skull fracture, scarred dura, or around foreign bodies), but the relationship isn’t fully understood.


Exposure to radiation has been found to be associated with a higher incidence of meningiomas. For example, survivors of Hiroshima have an increased incidence of these tumors. The more recently developed methods of delivering radiation therapy that use focused beams help to limit unnecessary exposure to areas outside the target, and so are expected to be safer. Patients who have undergone broad radiation treatments in the past should take care to watch for symptoms and monitor themselves for meningiomas. Meningiomas caused by radiation exposure are generally more aggressive.

Genetic Predisposition

People with a genetic disorder known as neurofibromatosis type 2 (Nf2) are more likely to develop meningiomas. Of people with malignant meningiomas, a higher percent have mutations in NF2.

There are some genes that may act as tumor suppressors, and the lack or deletion of these genes may make people more susceptible to tumors. For example, patients with Nf2 are, unfortunately, more likely to develop meningiomas because they have inherited a gene which has the potential to cause normal cells to become cancerous.


There is a possibility that viruses may be related to meningioma formation, but the relationship is not defined.

What are the indicators of a good or less good outcome?


The age of the patient at the time the tumor is removed influences outcome. Younger patients tend to do better after surgery than older patients do do. However, older patients in otherwise good health should not assume that their chances of a good outcome are diminished.

Tumor location and accessibility

People with tumors that invade the brain tend to do more poorly than patients with tumors that do not invade. Similarly, people with tumors on the outer surface of the brain (convexity) tend to better than those with tumors that are difficult to access, like those on the undersurface of the brain, in regions adjacent to important structures like those needed for breathing or movement, or near large blood vessels. Incomplete removal of the tumor, which is usually due to limitations caused by the location of the tumor, is associated with a higher chance of tumor recurrence. Residual tumor cells are a potential source of new tumor growth.

Extent of removal

The major clinical factor in recurrence is the extent of resection/ removal. How completely the surgeon is able to remove the tumor is highly affected by the location of the tumor, whether it is adjacent or attached to anything else, and the age of the patient.

Survival estimates show a marked difference when grouped by type. Benign meningiomas have the highest survival rate, followed by atypical meningiomas and then malignant.

Age at the time of diagnosis is also indicates an increased chance of survival. The younger patients have better survival rates.

Brain invasion indicates an increased chance of recurrence. Brain-invasive benign meningiomas act like atypical meningiomas overall.
Diagnosis is made by a contrast enhanced CT and/or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. While MRIs are in some ways superior, the CT can be helpful in determining if the tumor invades the bone, or if it’s becoming hard like bone.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one." ~Jane Howard

Your second family of support will never leave your side during your meningioma journey.

For more second family resources, check out:

American Brain Tumor Association
Includes an in-depth overview about brain tumors and what to know before and after surgery.
Brain Tumor Foundation
This New York-based foundation provides up to date information on tumor types; support groups for patients & caregivers; the latest medical technology, treatment options and clinical trials; and more.

Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada
Their goal is to reach every person in Canada affected by a brain tumour.
Toll-free # for more information: 1-800-265-5106

International Brain Tumour Alliance
Seeks to be an alliance of the support, advocacy and information groups for brain tumour patients and carers in different countries and also includes researchers, scientists, clinicians and allied health professionals who work in the area of brain tumours.

Meningioma Association UK
United Kingdom support group for those diagnosed with meningioma.

Musella Foundation For Brain Tumor Research & Information, Inc
Supplies information and support for families dealing with brain tumors, raises money for brain tumor research.

National Brain Tumor Society
Recently merged west and east coast based organization that provides excellent resources on various types of brain tumors, support groups and upcoming events for patients and their families.

The Tug McGraw Foundation
Named after the Phillies and New York Mets pitching legend who lost his life to brain cancer, this foundation raises funding to enhance the lives of children and adults with brain tumors.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Location, location, location!

You've just been diagnosed with a meningioma and one of your first questions is how could my tumor's location impact me?

The following information will help! Thank you

A wide variety of symptoms can occur after "brain injury." The nature of the symptoms depends, in large part, on where the brain has been injured. Below find a list of possible physical and cognitive symptoms which can arise from damage to specific areas of the brain:

Frontal Lobe: Forehead

Loss of simple movement of various body parts (Paralysis).
Inability to plan a sequence of complex movements needed to complete complete multi-stepped tasks, such as making coffee (Sequencing).
Loss of spontaneity in interacting with others.
Loss of flexibility in thinking.
Persistence of a single thought (Perseveration).
Inability to focus on task (Attending).
Mood changes (Emotionally Labile).
Changes in social behavior.
Changes in personality.
Difficulty with problem solving.
Inability to express language (Broca's Aphasia).

Parietal Lobe: near the back and top of the head

Inability to attend to more than one object at a time.
Inability to name an object (Anomia).
Inability to locate the words for writing (Agraphia).
Problems with reading (Alexia).
Difficulty with drawing objects.
Difficulty in distinguishing left from right.
Difficulty with doing mathematics (Dyscalculia).
Lack of awareness of certain body parts and/or surrounding space (Apraxia) that leads to difficulties in self-care.
Inability to focus visual attention.
Difficulties with eye and hand coordination.

Occipital Lobes: most posterior, at the back of the head

Defects in vision (Visual Field Cuts).
Difficulty with locating objects in environment.
Difficulty with identifying colors (Color Agnosia).
Production of hallucinations.
Visual illusions - inaccurately seeing objects.
Word blindness - inability to recognize words.
Difficulty in recognizing drawn objects.
Inability to recognize the movement of object (Movement Agnosia).
Difficulties with reading and writing.

Temporal Lobes: side of head above ears

Difficulty in recognizing faces (Prosopagnosia).
Difficulty in understanding spoken words (Wernicke's Aphasia).
Disturbance with selective attention to what we see and hear.
Difficulty with identification of, and verbalization about objects.
Short term memory loss.
Interference with long term memory.
Increased and decreased interest in sexual behavior.
Inability to catagorize objects (Categorization).
Right lobe damage can cause persistent talking.
Increased aggressive behavior.

Brain Stem: deep within the brain

Decreased vital capacity in breathing, important for speech.
Swallowing food and water (Dysphagia).
Difficulty with organization/perception of the environment.
Problems with balance and movement.
Dizziness and nausea (Vertigo).
Sleeping difficulties (Insomnia, sleep apnea).

Cerebellum: base of the skull

Loss of ability to coordinate fine movements.
Loss of ability to walk.
Inability to reach out and grab objects.
Dizziness (Vertigo).
Slurred Speech (Scanning Speech).
Inability to make rapid movements.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Meningioma Monday...

It's not always easy to get motivated on Mondays, so I'm trying a new feature called Meningioma Mondays to highlight all things meninigioma. I might share an inspirational meningioma blog, share a meningioma related link, a meningioma fact...

Your participation is encouraged and welcomed!

Q: What do all these ladies in the photo share in common?

A: They are all meningioma survivors and proof that meninigiomas don't discriminate.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


As a nearly 12-year meningioma brain tumor survivor, my motto and mantra has become "Mind Over Meningioma."

It is my goal to further increase meningioma awareness in 2012 via my 9-years-and-counting, nonprofit, Meningioma Mommas, , our MAD ABOUT MENINGIOMAS Facebook Cause, through my writing,

I'm also hoping you'll help pass the mind over meningioma message. Feel free to chime in at any time to share your meningioma moments, milestones and musings.

Happy New Year!