There are several things you do not want to hear in life. Among them is: “We’re losing cabin pressure,” “Both your parents are dead,” and “You have a brain tumor.” I had the “fortune” to hear one of those sentences. Given that I’m still alive and I haven’t started manufacturing a Batman costume, you, the attentive reader, can surmise it’s the third option.

It all started with a bender with my friend Martina. We’d laughed the night away, drank too much wine and didn’t go to bed. I then continued to work, wrote copy for a whole website in eight hours, and forgot to eat. To take the load off, nothing better entered my mind than to go for a spin class. My inner retard struck again.

You can imagine what this did to my body. An epileptic seizure ensued, followed by my expeditious transportation to a nearby hospital. From intense lifestyle into intensive care unit and to neurology department only in a couple of hours. Great job, Honza!

Unintended consequences

What followed took my breath away. In a span of only a couple of months, I went through a host of check-ups (CT, PET scan, several MRIs) and ended up on anti-epileptic medication. Funny thing about those pills was that they are also used to treat patients with mania. Nightmares never felt as vivid in my life as they felt during the adjustment phase.

Epilepsy aside, there was one other thing the doctors found. It was a cluster of cells that shouldn’t have been there. An accidental find near my right occipital lobe. Fortunately, not a cancer.

Further inspection revealed the cluster to be a glioma. As I said at the beginning, nothing you’d like to hear. When “It’s very close to your center of vision, so we must act fast,” followed this finding, I was not a happy camper.

And… cut!

Several weeks later, I was hospitalised and waiting for a surgery. After four hours under anesthesia, I find myself with a gap in the brain.

Flash forward to the present day. The tumour is gone, yet epilepsy is still far from being cured. The brain is still struggling with vision, but hey, I’ll take occasional issues over being blind.

One thing must happen for certain; and that is a lifestyle change. My type of glioma has a chance of resurgence, which would jumpstart the whole therapy roundabout again. Nobody wants that.

Next step is to enjoy a stress-free period of time, while focusing on health. No more checking campaigns at 2 a.m. More sleep, more exercise, more relaxation. Less staring at a monitor, cellphone and tablet.

The moral of the story (so far) is twofold.

1) Never take anything for granted

You might have a new loving spouse, a challenging job prospect ahead of you, a newborn child. Regardless of what you’ve got, there is always something unplanned waiting to happen. Enjoy what you’ve got, and be present. I don’t mean to sink into pathetic clichĂ©s here, but this one is true for a reason.

2) Get checked

It doesn’t get any more trivial. Ask your general practitioner or neurologist to give you a check-up. They will send you to get a MRI, CT or even PET scans. None of these hurt.


Now back to some marketing fun. I hope to see you soon at Marketing Festival.

Image credit: Mark Thomas (shamelessly stolen)