My sister Yasmin took this picture on Jan 7, 2013. It was after my six-hour long emergency brain surgery. No one knew if I would wake up, but she took this picture. After months of living in the hospital and doing more weeks of therapy that I can count, I did recover from having a stroke and brain surgery.
For half a century, a drug called metformin has been making life better for people suffering from Type II diabetes. Now, Canadian researchers are finding that it could also offer remarkable benefits for something completely different. There is evidence that metformin can help an injured brain repair itself.
Resilience is the ability to absorb high levels of change, while maintaining your personal resourcefulness. It is more than stress management. Stress management is about 'managing' or getting rid of something that is negative (that you don't want). Developing or building resilience is more about creating something positive (that you want). Focusing on what you want to create provides you with opportunities and 'answers' that will not come to you when you focus on what you want to eliminate.
I desperately tried to HIDE my story. After my stroke, I hated the attention I received. I was lucky to have had a successful recovery but I did not understand why it was such a big deal, why newspapers wanted to write about it and why every single person I saw would make it the focus of a conversation.
On the whole, my many years of research on substance use has taught me a major overarching lesson: we are much more likely to demonize drugs for their negative effects than consider their neutral or potentially positive impacts. Or -- in scientific terms -- there is a built-in bias in the scientific literature, textbooks, and popular press towards highlighting the negative aspects of drug use.
When it comes to fighting brain tumours, having a strong and supportive team is the greatest weapon. I've been a social worker on the neurosurgery floor of a hospital for over 26 years. As one of the first people to have contact with a newly diagnosed brain tumour patient, I can attest that a strong network, a resilient team, is one of the greatest assets a patient, and their families, can equip themselves with as they begin this new chapter of their lives.