After feeling dizzy and almost drunk, I headed to my family doctor for a checkup. An MRI revealed a cyst in the middle of my brainstem (you can see it in the picture below, YES, that large bubble). The following day, I met with the surgeon and was told to wait because they do not operate in that part of the brain due to the risks. After nearly a week, I was unable to concentrate, could not hold anything down, or got sick. The longer I waited, the worse things got; I couldn’t walk straight, and my speech was slurred. A person cannot live like this, so I chose surgery at St. Mikes in Toronto.  

 It was the plan to drain the cyst so I would not have so much pressure on my brain with minor damage. I had the surgery and was left with a weakness on my left side. At the time, I was doing well.

I had emergency surgery after a week because I was going into a coma. The cyst bled even more, so I had to have a different surgeon perform the surgery to save my life. As a result, I was quite disabled. I lost weight from 180 pounds to 140 pounds in a week. Because I was so weak and because of the residual damage to my brain, I couldn’t move a finger. My left side was frozen, and I was unable to walk, eat, speak, or write on my own.  

To be closer to my family, I decided to go to Hamilton General Hospital.  

After a month, the cyst started bleeding, so I had to undergo surgery again. The surgeon told my wife that I had a 6% chance of survival because I was weak and two surgeries on the brain stem are rare.

I managed to survive!

After the surgery, I remember being told I would no longer eat, walk, and/or speak because of all the damage in my head. After a month I was transferred to a Rehab center in Hamilton. The first thing they wanted to do was bring my weight up, so I was on a liquid diet via a feeding tube 24hrs/day. After 6 months the tube was pulled from my stomach to everyone’s surprise. I was also able to eat with some assistance and my speech also improved and now I am understood 97% of the time.

For a year and three months, my life was at the hospital. I was told many things which made me realize that no one knows what your body can do if you want it hard enough. My daughter was 17 months old when I was diagnosed. My time with her was ripped out of my hands. Thanks to my parents, without them I couldn’t have gotten this far on my own. Currently, I’m not able to walk, feel my left side, my right side of my face is frozen, I have double vision, and still not able to write.

You don’t know what life can throw your way. You just deal with it to the best that you can and don’t look back.

Anita and I have booked a flight to Cologne, Germany for an adult stem cell procedure on Jan 16, 2010, something that’s not available in North America. This is an expensive procedure and being that we are living off one income, this has put a huge strain on our finances. We obviously must borrow and worry about it later. I decided to swallow my pride and ask for help. The procedure does not guarantee that this will work but my research shows positive results. I can only hope that the procedure will work, as I want with all my heart to go back to normal. Thank you for all your help and I hope my story has inspired you.