According to the doctors, the tumor took years to grow. “Maybe twenty or thirty years. Then your brain slowly adjusts and that can go on well for years. But now that tumor has to come out.”
Mascha is operated on for six hours and at first it looks as if she has woken up well after the operation. She wakes up in the intensive care unit feeling “fine”. “Of course I was covered in the pills. I could still talk, albeit with difficulty. I could also drink quite well. Those were all good signs.”
But when Masha takes all the tests one day after the operation, it becomes clear that there are limitations in her speech and in her movements, such as walking. “I didn’t immediately think it was permanent, but I knew it was going to take a long time to recover. I was very combative, and I wanted to do whatever was necessary.” But when she woke up that night, it suddenly hit her. “I cried a lot. Then I realized a lot had changed.”
29 With Incurable Brain Tumor: ‘I Still Wouldn’t Want To Trade My Life With Anyone’
In the following months, she works hard on her recovery. She goes to a rehabilitation center and receives all kinds of treatment, including psychomotor therapy and help from a psychologist. “I made the most progress in the first months. It wasn’t just about the physical, but also the emotional recovery.”
“I started working again on January 1, 2022, three times an hour a week. But it didn’t work at all. In May it became clear that I could no longer return to my position. It cost me a lot and didn’t give me much.
Fatigue was the main obstacle. But I also cognitively can no longer function enough to work. I can reason well, but it all happens so slowly. Multitasking is completely out of the question and this is a huge hurdle for my work. I hated it. Work has many jobs. It’s partly about your self-esteem, it’s about independence, about social connection and inspiration. But there are other things that are more important, like my family and me.”
“That year I said goodbye to my job. This year, the third year after the cerebral hemorrhage, I focused primarily on healing. On living mourning. I also had EMDR to combat my fear of the possibility of it happening again.
I get checked every six months. The tumor was removed, but unfortunately not completely removed. Fortunately, it was a benign tumor and this is a nice bonus.
Now all is well. Sometimes I get angry, but that’s part of it. I love to row, walk and bike again. That was not possible at first. I can go shopping again and it makes me more independent again. And so I can be there again for my family and for my son.”
To describe the consequences of permanent brain injury, she wrote a book with her good friend Ronald Gephardt: I miss me too. She doesn’t know if she will get better or not. But one thing you do know, she wants to keep going. Where I gave my life a nine before the brain bleed, I now give scores based on my mood and energy. Because that’s what I miss most: my energy.
Two days ago I gave my energy a five, but my mood got a seven. I was tired, but still looking forward to the day. But there are also times when I am very happy and then sometimes give life a nine. You think “what a misery,” but sometimes I feel so happy. In that regard, it’s great that people are so flexible.”
Kim suffered a brain hemorrhage and now suffers from aphasia (a language disorder): “I don’t want people to think I’m stupid”
“Travel enthusiast. Alcohol lover. Friendly entrepreneur. Coffeeaholic. Award-winning writer.”