Halloween is the worst day and happiest day of my life

Halloween has a different meaning for our family since 10/31/2012. It was the worst day and the best day of my life. On that day my son went through brain surgery to remove his cancerous brain tumor. The journey was tough in the beginning with complications and those memories will forever be etched in my brain. These memories will haunt me forever but it was also the day he became cancer free. I cried tears then of fear and today I cry tears of gratitude and hope. He continues to get scanned and he has been cancer free since that day. brain-surgery

My son told me during his recovery that I changed that day. Of course I did how could I not, I almost lost my son. I do have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from those hospital days and I continue to work hard learning how to lessen my symptoms of utter fear, heart pounding, and spontaneous tears when I hear certain alarm sounds or the words brain tumor or seizure, or even the mention of his name. Thankfully I have less of these episodes except when the date of October 24th comes because this date was the date when life changed. While PTSD is a negative consequence of this traumatic life event, a truly positive change in me occurred as well.

I learned to tell those I cherish how they make a positive difference in my life. I began writing yearly letters to my children on their birthdays to tell them how important they are to me. These letters emphasize how proud of them I am by outlining their accomplishments for that year and, most importantly, how much they are loved by me. They will always have these letters to refer to even when I am no longer here. I know, you are thinking what a wonderful idea. But I don’t stop there. I will send random letters/texts/emails to my friends and family letting them know how much I appreciate them and how fortunate I am to have these people in my life.

Why am I sharing such personal information with you? I do not want you to have a traumatic event in your life to have this aha moment. Please, learn from me and be present in the lives of those you cherish and never be afraid to show them and tell them how much you care. I am so thankful that I have had so many tomorrows with my loved ones because we never know when a tomorrow may end. Isn’t today the perfect day to start?


If you are interested in reading about my son’s health crisis through my eyes, here are the links to my personal journey.

My Journey to Clarity, a Genuine Thanksgiving—The Beginning

My Journey to Clarity, a Genuine Thanksgiving—The Surgery

My Journey to Clarity, a Genuine Thanksgiving–Watching My Son Recover from Brain Surgery

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Can Happen to Anyone, Even Me 

A letter to my sons on their birthday

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    Nancy Chodash

    I am a nurse practitioner who not only treats patients, but has had chronic illnesses including cancer so I understand how frustrating medicine can be. But through all this, I have never lost my sense of humor and my ability to make people laugh. I love to cook, and since becoming gluten-free a year ago, I have recipes for everyone's tastes whether it be healthy, decadent, vegetarian, or gluten-free. My philosophy is all about health, food, laughter and life!

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