Every day, 27 Canadians are diagnosed with a brain tumour, says the Brain Tumor Foundation of Canada’s website.
May is Brain Tumor Awareness month, but there isn’t much going on in the Sault to commemorate this.
That’s about to change.
Christina Spadafora was diagnosed with a meningioma brain tumour – a tumor that forms on the three layers of membranes that are called meninges and is benign 90 per cent of the time – back in 2013. This large tumour at the base of her skull was in a dangerous location, so she decided to have it removed in February of this year.
“I had a craniotomy with 46 staples and 34 sutures,” she said in a text submission to SaultOnline.
She returned to work in May, which just happens to be brain tumour awareness month.
Working for Superior Family Health Team, she said she’s not used to being the patient.
“I am not used to being in the reverse roll as patient as in my position; I am the person who arranges a lot of medical treatments,” she continued.
She said she’s a private person, so only select people knew about her tumour.
“My physician and co-worker, who happens to be the lead physician of Superior Family Health Team, is the person I thank. I am so so grateful to him for not letting me put off the removal of the large tumour for any longer. At work, almost weekly, he would remind me that the tumour was there and I can’t just forget about it – to be honest I was going to just forget about it as it wasn’t affecting me in any other way other than minor headaches and neck pain. I had small children and I always had different reasons why I couldn’t go through with the removal,” she said. “With the help of my amazing husband and amazing parents I had my surgery at Toronto Western Hospital with Dr. Fred Gentili and I wanted to honor him as well ! Dr. Gentili and his team didn’t think he would be able to re-sect the whole tumour as it had grown so large as too reach my C1 and C2 in my spine but he did and I avoided radiation as that was a last resort for me. I don’t have cancer and I didn’t want radiation in my body..that was an option from the start that I refused!”
During the process, Spadafora met two other women – also health care workers – whose stories were similar to her own. Together, they decided to start a walk for brain tumour awareness, noticing that, although there are walks all over Canada, there isn’t one in the Sault.
Their “do it yourself” walk takes place at 1:30 p.m. on June 3 at the Fort Creek Hub Trail. All proceeds raised are going to the Brain Tumour Association.