Helping a Mother with Brain Cancer See Her Daughter in THE Dress
- Colleen Gilbert is currently faced with “terminal” brain cancer. She’s always wanted to see her children get married, so her single daughter Christine did the next best thing – create a wedding dress shopping party for them where Colleen got to help her pick out a wedding dress for the future.
- There are many different types of brain cancers and signs of the disease can vary. But symptoms of brain tumors are often caused by increased pressure in the skull and can include headache, nausea ,vomiting, blurred vision, balance problems, personality or behavior changes, drowsiness or even coma and seizures.
- A cancer battle, or any struggle for that matter, can lead to a whole host of complex emotions – and it’s okay to allow yourself to feel the negative ones too. But trying to stay positive and focus on the ‘controllables’ of your situation can help you live life to the fullest while fighting cancer.
Colleen Gilbert, a mother of six, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer two years ago. Since then, it’s been a hard road, and she’s struggled thinking about not making it to her daughter’s wedding some day.Read More
But one of her children, Christine Gilbert, got to thinking. Even if her mother might not be able to help her plan for the big day or attend the event in the future, that doesn’t mean they couldn’t make memories in the meantime. That’s when she hatched a plan for a wedding dress shopping day.
“What are the things that a mother and daughter do?” a single Christine thought. “This came to me since she’s been saying more and more that she really wants to see me get married.”
Much to her mother’s surprise, Christine sent a limousine one day to Colleen’s house. She was taken to a bridal shop where friends and family were gathered and dressed to the nines.
“It was great to lose ourselves for a day and truly just take ourselves on that wild fantastical journey,” Christine said. “We’re just taking it day by day, but that was a pretty great day.”
And as for Colleen, she made memories that day that she’ll treasure forever.
“Something like this, that I thought was totally out of the question suddenly happens, and it is very, very special,” Colleen said.
Understanding Brain Cancer
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), brain tumors account for 85 to 90 percent of all primary central nervous system (CNS) tumors. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord and acts as the main “processing center” for the entirety of the nervous system, according to the American Cancer Society. Normal function of the brain and spinal cord can become difficult if there’s a tumor present that puts pressure on or spreads into nearby normal tissue.
There are many different types of brain cancer. Some types of brain and spinal cord tumors are more likely to spread into nearby parts of the brain or spinal cord than others. Slow-growing tumors may be considered benign, but even these tumors can cause serious problems.
Brain Tumor Symptoms
Symptoms of brain tumors are often caused by increased pressure in the skull. This pressure can be caused by tumor growth, swelling in the brain or blockage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
It is important to note that brain tumor symptoms are not exclusive to brain tumors, but you should still contact your doctor if anything seems off. General symptoms may include the following:
- Blurred vision
- Balance problems
- Personality or behavior changes
- Drowsiness or even coma
Staying Positive throughout a Cancer Journey
It’s normal to have negative feelings throughout your cancer journey – and it’s okay to express them too. Anger, shame, fear and anxiety are all to be expected. But doctors will tell you that people who find a way to work through the emotions and stay positive tend to have better outcomes.
“A positive attitude is really important,” Dr. Zuri Murrell, a colorectal surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, previously told SurvivorNet. “I’m pretty good at telling what kind of patients are going to still have this attitude and probably going to live the longest, even with bad, bad disease. And those are patients who, they have gratitude in life.”
In a previous interview with SurvivorNet, Dr. Mona Robbins, a licensed psychologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, shared that mindset can play a huge role in helping you throughout your cancer journey. She says it’s important to understand that there are some things you can control and some things you just can’t.
“There’s this connection with the mind and the body that if we adjust the way that we think, we can really help our bodies to heal,” Dr. Robbins said. “For areas where you can control, how can you either advocate for yourself, ask more questions, clarify the needs? Or even, then, where areas where you can’t, how can you take things one day at a time? Recognizing some of the good that may be present in the day, as opposed to all of the bad you may think is there.”
And one way to stay positive and focus on the ‘control-ables’ is to make exciting plans for the future.
“Have something to look forward to – either in a couple months, if not at the end of the week – so that that brings up your spirit and your energy so that you feel a little bit more hopeful about what’s happening,” she said.