Living with Herbert: Mediating Survival and Resilience
In my second year of my doctoral program I was struck by a debilitating bout of vertigo. Not certain of what was happening or why my body suddenly seemed to be in a spinning room that no one else was experiencing, I consulted trusted family and friends in the medical field for an explanation. Most of my friends dismissed my concern as the stress of a new school year or just the circumstances that befall someone who has always been clumsy. I, however, was not swayed in my concern and paying attention to the material realities of my body, I went to the doctor. Over the next several weeks I went from specialist to specialist until an MRI was ordered and a cause was identified. A large benign brain tumor was found, growing off of my hearing and balance nerves and pushing against my brain stem. I was told that though the tumor was benign, it had grown larger than the space available to it, that I was losing my hearing and balance and without treatment I would most certainly die in a few years because of the way the tumor was growing in the space my brainstem required.