In September of 2016, just a few short days after returning home from my honeymoon, I woke up with terribly distorted vision. A few short weeks later, I was diagnosed with a rare type of brain tumor that would likely take my life.

I ended up having two brain surgeries in 2017. One surgery was to remove the brain tumor that had attached itself to my brain stem. The second was to insert a shunt due to complications from the first surgery.

For help with my recovery, I chose the Outpatient NeuroRehab program at Southern Indiana Rehab Hospital. They were absolutely amazing. My therapists never failed to encourage me. They gently pressed me, and most importantly, never gave up on me. When I finally graduated from the program, I was in tears at how much they had helped me and loved me through one of the toughest experiences of my life.

Sadly, in early 2018, I had to undergo two more brain surgeries. During one of the surgeries I suffered a brain bleed and was left in a stroke-like state. Because of my love for SIRH and the people who work there, I went to inpatient rehab there. By the time I left, I was walking and able to use my left arm, which was something I thought I’d never do again.

After discharging from inpatient care, I spent more time in the Outpatient NeuroRehab program at SIRH. Once again, it was an incredible help to my recovery.

I honestly cannot say enough good things about SIRH and the people who work there. While I was there, I never experienced someone who made me feel like less of a person, even though I myself felt less. They always cheered me on, encouraged me, and did everything they could to help me overcome all that I had been through. All the while, they treated me as if I was perfectly “normal.” They never saw anything less than a “whole person” in me. Every single person I encountered there was nothing short of fantastic, genuine, caring, compassionate...and simply amazing.

I’ve learned a lot through the past two years, and especially since finding out my brain tumor has returned. Life sometimes just doesn’t go as planned. And just in case you find yourself realizing this same thing, here is a thought I'd like to share with you. Whatever tragedy you may be going through, whatever horrible experience that may have stolen your heart straight from your chest, try to find a way to let it go, don’t live in it, don’t allow it to stop you from breathing, from living!!! The greatest of miracles is that you woke up today! I promise you this...the sun will still rise tomorrow and the stars will be shining brightly tonight. It's ok to get down, but don’t ever stay down. Get up, don't give up!

Although we may not always know why bad things happen, we need to keep in mind that not all things are “bad." They just come along to teach us and to show us what life is really all about. Life is about being kind. Life is about taking the time to love one another. Life is about respecting each other even if we disagree. Life is about learning to realize what we have before it's too late to appreciate the little things! I want to leave you with this last thought...love the people in your life like there is no tomorrow and when tomorrow comes...do it all over again!! Shine on!!