I'll Never Forget the Day I Don't Remember: Tiffany's Story

I'll Never Forget the Day I Don't Remember: Tiffany's Story
"I don't want others to ever feel like they are alone, like there is no one else out there - because there are so many of us and together, we are living in the moment, helping others and counting our blessings."  Brain tumour survivor, Tiffany

When she headed to work on November 1, 2003, 20-year old Tiffany Reisinger had no idea how much her life was about to change. She was feeling ‘normal’ that day but sometime around mid-morning, she began to slur her speech, “I was really embarrassed,” she remembers.

Then her coworkers told her she didn’t look very well and her boss encouraged her to go home. Tiffany pushed back saying she was fine but when she began feeling ‘funny’ she headed home. “I don’t remember this,” she says.

She called her boyfriend Jason to come home as well as her sister and they both stayed with her while her symptoms continued to worsen that day. Among other things she had a terrible, unrelenting headache.

By nine o’clock that night, they headed to the emergency room where things got worse, “When we got to the hospital, I couldn’t even walk. I had deteriorated so much in twelve hours.” Tiffany was sent to Foothills hospital by ambulance where she underwent a CT scan. “I have no memory of any of it,” she explains. The next day Tiffany awoke in a hospital bed, confused about where she was and why she was there – only to be told she had a brain tumour.

Six days later Tiffany found herself in brain surgery. This kicked off the most terrifying four months of her life. Following her surgery she didn’t know she was supposed to wean off her steroid medication which led to weight gain and depression. “We didn’t know what to ask about or what to do,” she recalls.

At a follow-up appointment with her surgeon, Tiffany discovered both that she should have been coming off the medication and that she would need a second surgery to remove the remaining tumour. “That’s when I decided to take control,” she says, “The only thing I can do is be positive.” This decision has helped to define Tiffany’s journey with a brain tumour since then. Four days after the second surgery, in January 2004, she headed home and she returned to work one month later.

brain tumour survivor tiffany, her husband and two childrenLater in 2004 Tiffany learned about Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada and the supports and information available to those affected. She received an information package and began attending the Calgary Support Group, “it all really helped me deal with what I was going through,” she explains. She participated in the 2005 Spring Sprint (now Brain Tumour Walk) and the Calgary Information Day and continues to volunteer with both events each year. 

Today Tiffany undergoes monitoring MRIs, recently bumped from annual to bi-annual, to track her Central Neuro Cytoma brain tumour. She and Jason married in 2006 and are the proud parents to Jakob, four-and-a-half and Kayli, who is two.

On top of her busy family life, Tiffany is motivated to raise awareness and build connections for those in Calgary affected by the disease.

“I don’t want others to ever feel like they are alone, like there is no one else out there – because there are so many of us and together, we are living in the moment, helping others and counting our blessings.”

 

brain tumour survivor tiffany speaks to calgary brain tumour information day

 

September 2012: Tiffany shared her story of strength, hope, and courage at the 2012 Calgary Brain Tumour Information Day.

There wasn't a dry eye in the room of survivors, family and health care professionals when Tiffany was done telling her story.

Thank you Tiffany for being so open to share you story.

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Story posted: May 2012
 


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