What You Do When Your Mom Has A Brain Tumor

1. You slightly freak out.  And by slightly you mean seriously.

2.  You pretend to only slightly freak out because you have the kind of mother who says things like, “It is what it is” and “Bodies are strange” and “So what? It could be so much worse!” and “I like big butts and a I cannot lie” (I include that last quote not because it is relevant to this post, but because it gives you a glimpse into her character).

3. You learn that meningiomas are far more common than you realized.  According to the neurosurgeon as common as 1 in 5, however most people’s don’t grow (unlike your mama’s), and that they usually aren’t cancerous, so hooray for that. #silverbrainlining

4. You slightly freak out anyway.  (Reminder: Slightly = Seriously)

5. You think that maybe the tumor IS affecting her brain when she starts carrying a mini-brain, a 5 inch cross-section of a human head, that she borrowed from the anatomy teacher around with her, as a way of trying to explain her brain tumor to people.

6.  Even with mini-brain, you feel like you don’t have anywhere near the level of understanding about the tumor or the surgery that you need, so you decide to go with her to her appointments.

7.  You realize that even with mini-brain, your own mother wasn’t exactly certain where her own brain tumor was.  You determine that she just liked the mini brain.  It was kind of cute, in a creepy, cross-section sort of way.

8. You squint your eyes and tilt your head and start whispering, every time she says or does something you think is a little bit off, “It’s the brain tumor, isn’t it?”

9. You buy brain hats and have people wear them during a celebratory send-off.  A farewell toast to the tumor.


10.  You stop complaining because every complaint is met with, “You think that’s rough? I’m having brain surgery”. And you really can’t argue with that.  You say goodbye to empathetic responses.

11.  You go to the pre-op appointments with her, and recognize that just knowing what is going on helps you feel more in control, while simultaneously reminding you that you really don’t have any control.

12.  You ogle brain charts and pretend to know what you’re looking at.


13.  You ask enough questions that the surgeon gets you a 3d model, which helps your understanding immensely.


14.  At the appointments, you make fun of her, per usual, and she laughs good-naturedly, per usual.


15.  You notice how her left eyelid is pushed out so much more than the right. You wonder what the difference will be post surgery.

16. You say, “Go Blue!” Words you’ve never uttered before, that have always been considered essentially cuss words, since you usually say “Go Green!” instead.  You might even buy her a blue and maize beanie to cover her scars.



17.  You tell her you thought she needed a cup of coffee and hand her a mug you made her, and when she doesn’t look at it and goes on a fifteen minute tangent about not having cream you finally yell, “LOOK AT THE MUG!” and then whisper, “It’s the brain tumor, isn’t it?”


18. You remember that even though this might not be that funny, that you have the best sense of humor out of your siblings, who asked you if you meant to put an “h” instead of a “t”.


19. You quell your anxieties with bottles of wine and trays of nachos. You nurture some psuedo-semblance of ease and your ever-growing food baby.

20. You eagerly await surgery day.

10 thoughts on “What You Do When Your Mom Has A Brain Tumor

  1. In my case I got really drunk and broke my thumb. I sobered up in the ER where I was embrassed as all hell. Everyone was really nice to me, “my mom has a brain tumour” buys you a lot of leverage. Three weeks later we found out “oops. We were wrong”. (She has since been diagnosed with Parkisons). But hey, if it’s not a good time it’s a good story? Right?
    Sending love and good vibes from the north to all of you.

  2. 1. Very best of thoughts for you, your mother and your family.
    2. Nice mug!
    3. Go Blue!
    4. Meninges – three layers of protective coating surrounding the brain. The thickest is the dura mater which translates to “tough mother”. From what I know about your mother and especially about the strong daughter she raised “tough mother” fits in all of the best ways possible.

  3. Loved this Christine, the RINEY world is praying and joining hands for our dear Renee and I know she will be fine. In our big clan, she is unique as they come and we need her. We love her, and we are holding all of you, her dearest ones, in our thoughts.

  4. Take your mom’s lead. clearly. Each time I attended a birth, I took the mama’s lead. I let her guide me so that I could guide her. Your mom will tell you what she needs. You’re her witness, but you’re also her baby. She will show you what she wants. It’s her prerogative. You are such a talented writer. I love how raw your feelings are here. I am thinking about you and your family, and especially your mom, so much right now. Infact so many of us are, we’re bursting with love and good wishes. how ’bout that? xoxo

  5. I had the same surgery. If Renee wants to talk she can contact me anytime. We went to school together. I just saw her Saturday night.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s