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My healthy lifestyle saved my life: words from a brain tumor survivor

Aug. 25, 2010
Christian Drumm, a brain tumor survivor and marathon runner, shares with readers how his healthy lifestyle of running, exercising, and consistently training for races is what saved his life.
By Christian Drumm
My name is Christian Drumm and I’m a brain tumor survivor and marathon runner. My healthy lifestyle of running, exercising, and consistently training for races is what saved my life. In 2007 during a routine eye exam, my ophthalmologist noticed fluid buildup behind my eye. Due to her continued concern and professional collaboration with other medical specialists, a brain tumor was discovered through an MRI. Since I had experienced no notable symptoms, the medical community was shocked to learn of the advanced stage of the tumor in my brain. A tumor at that stage tends to have side effects of headaches, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty performing everyday activities. I explained how I was in the middle of training for a marathon, and that only added to their disbelief. During my initial consultation with a neurologist at Georgetown University Hospital, the concern over the severity of the tumor was so great that I was instructed not to leave the hospital that day. Surgery was the only option. The prognosis was grim, and many of the complications of the surgery were serious: paralysis, seizures, and death. Yet to me it was a win-win situation. The Bible reads in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” If I died during the emergency surgery, I knew I would be with my Lord. If the surgery were a success, I would be on the road to recovery and full health. Thanks to many answered prayers and one skilled brain surgeon, I made it out alive.After the surgery, I endured several months of physical therapy to help regain muscle strength and balance. It was a very difficult time, but my disciplined marathon training helped keep me focused on recovery. When I went back to work at the dental office several months later, I was able to be more relaxed and focused. I had a better perspective on life and what was important. To this day I still have to work to articulate in speech and remember not to push myself to extreme limits. I’m still actively training for marathons, and I try to run one race a year after receiving the consent of my brain surgeon. I try to listen to my body more than ever before. Living a healthy lifestyle greatly helped me to successfully and quickly recover from brain surgery. It’s important to me to continue to stay active and healthy.Author bioChristian Drumm can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].