Five little words

Maria it’s a brain tumour.

Those 5 little words were said to me 5 ½ years ago and changed the course of my life.

Gut wrenching, is probably the best way I can describe the feeling I had when those 5 little words were said to me. If I survive this brain tumour (which we affectionately dubbed ‘the peanut’) I promise to be a better person. I promise to donate more to charity. I promise to stop watching reality tv. I promise to quit drinking. You make all sorts of mad promises when you’re lying in hospital with tubes and machines attached to you. I mean, how could I give up watching The Biggest Loser or MasterChef? Seriously, what was I thinking?

If I did survive this, the decision had been made to take some long service leave and travel around Australia. A few months later we did just that. We travelled 25,000 kilometres in 7 months and it was the best medicine for my recovery. I had to check in with the ‘ologists’ regularly while I was travelling and had to get different things checked to make sure I was doing ok.

The peanut and consequently the trip did some wonderful things for me and for the love of my life. It made us focus on what is important in life. It made us appreciate the little things. It forced us to make a decision on what we wanted to do when we grew up – we decided that we wanted to travel permanently. We got home from the trip, went back to work, and started the process of selling up and giving away all our worldly possessions. It took us 2 years to get ourselves organised and 2 ½ years ago we became permanent travellers.

Those 5 little words changed everything for us. We viewed it as a blessing in disguise, because if I hadn’t have been diagnosed with the peanut, we wouldn’t be living this wonderful life. I have become a better person to family and friends, I have done more community and charity work, I have given up alcohol, but I still haven’t given up watching reality tv!

I continue to improve and I constantly surprise the ologists. You can’t keep a good woman down, I always say! I just wish it didn’t take a brain tumour to make me realise that life is yours for the taking. You just have to grab on and go for it.

(posted on my HSM page 12 months ago)

The addicted Brain

The addicted Brain

This is a free course about addiction.

Click on the link just there, up there to your left, yep you got it.

This is a course about addiction to drugs and other behaviors. It will describe what happens in the brain and how this information helps us deal with and overcome addiction.

About the Course
The course will cover many aspects of addiction, mainly to drugs, but also to the Internet, gambling and other behaviors. Questions that will be addressed include:

  • What is addiction?
  • How do we study it and what have we learned?
  • What makes a drug or activity addicting and what are its problems and toxicities?
  • What happens in the brain when someone becomes addicted?
  • Who can be an addict, and what are the vulnerability and risk factors?
  • How do we treat addicts?
  • How does government policy affect addicts?