The Brain Tumor Didn't Stand a Chance!
Updated: Apr 5, 2021
July 3, 2018
1. Thank you for joining Farfromacurse to share your testimony. Please introduce yourself to the viewers and readers and let them know who you are and why you’re joining #TestimonyTuesday!
Hey! I’m Christopher Williams and I am here to discuss my brain tumor diagnosis and how I overcame it.
2. Give the readers/viewers top three interesting facts about you.
a. I am an OKC fan for the NBA. They were number four in the western conference, so I hope they continue to succeed further to blow out the other teams. Even though we know it will not happen anytime soon lol
b. On weekends I love to travel as much as possible. I don’t know how to stay out of New York now lol. I’ve visited NYC, Toronto, Niagara Falls and many other areas. In fact, I will be headed to Santorini, Greece in September.
c. My favorite hobby is learning about real estate investing. Thanks to networking I am working with mentors to help guide me on investing projects.
3. How was your everyday life leading up to the discovery of the brain tumor?
I had a normal everyday life as a kid. I was very involved in sports, hanging out with friends, and school. I started having minor seizures around 10-12 years old but I ignored the signs because I did not understand what was going on. An acquaintance witnessed my epilepsy when I was 22 years old and I decided to go to the doctor when she pointed it out.
4. Can you please describe what epilepsy is to the audience?
Epilepsy is a form of a seizure. By definition, Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that produces brief disturbances in the normal electrical functions of the brain, causing recurrent seizures. It can be genetically present from birth or caused by a head injury, brain tumor, or stroke.
5. What caused the first seizure and epilepsy at 22 years old around your friend?
Working out always incited my seizures. It would always occur when I pushed myself to enhance my workout routine and it lasted approximately 30 seconds to a minute. To describe it, I would get dizzy and feel very nauseous. Even though I would not feel great, I would continue to work out and spin in circles because of the effect. In addition, I would spit constantly due to feeling nauseous but I would never throw up. During the epilepsy, I experienced temporary memory loss as well. Therefore, we could be talking about anything right before the seizure and I would forget the conversation completely when the episode was over.
6. Okay, so the epilepsy occurred mainly when you would work out. Did this ever occur at work, grocery shopping, or any daily activities?
No, but one time I had it when I woke up from a nap. It hit me suddenly! I am not sure why it happened that day but that was the only time from what I remember when it happened outside of the gym.
7. It doesn't sound like you sought a physician during these episodes; did you think this was normal?
I knew something was wrong but a lot of the time as a man, we are hardheaded individuals and we do not listen to the things our body is trying to communicate to us. I never went to the doctor for about ten years until I had it in front of my friend.
8. What exactly is a brain tumor?
It is a mass growth of abnormal cells in the brain. It can be benign or malignant which means noncancerous or cancerous. Luckily, mine was benign, which typically is a slow growing tumor.
9. Does brain tumors run in your family?
From my knowledge after speaking to my parents, they said that it has not happened at all in our family and I was the first one to experience it.
10. Did the doctors state the possible cause of the brain tumor?
The doctors asked about family history or if I hit my head once. I told them that as a child I definitely hit my head a couple times. They informed me on the strong possibly of a tumor growing from a concussion or trauma to the head. Of course, I never thought about that as a kid because as a kid you hit your head everywhere!
11. What was your reaction when the doctor told you his findings during the first visit?
I remember like it was yesterday, I went to the doctor at the John D. Amos center in Columbus, GA on January 2, 2015. That was the day the doctor told me he saw a mass in my brain and it appeared to be a tumor. I will be the first to let you know that I am not a very emotional person at all. The last time I was emotional was when my grandma passed in 2005. It hurt so much that nothing has compared to that in a while. Therefore, I did not have any emotions at all when he broke the news. I was ready to see what we can do next and he referred me to another doctor. My friend was tearing up and crying and I could see my parents’ emotions when I broke the news to them.
12. So your thoughts at the time were, “what do I do next?” and “okay, I’m still here so what’s going on?”
Yes! I was ready to figure out what I can do next especially because it was the second day of the year. This was the ultimate new year new me.
13. Did any other major events occur in your life between the initial doctor’s visit and your first surgery?
No, the brain tumor was the only major event in my life at the time. On March 9, 2015, Doctor Goldman performed a biopsy in the back of my head. Surprisingly, it was more painful than the actual surgery. He retrieved a piece of the tumor and sent it to the testing lab in Atlanta. It was the size of a golf ball two inches behind my left eye. A few weeks later, he told me the tumor was benign (non-cancerous) which was good news but I was still referred to Dr. Olsen, a surgeon at Emory University Hospital. I scheduled the surgery to remove the tumor on July 6, 2015.
14. How did your friends and family take the news?
My family and friends were supportive. I told them not to worry because I did not want anyone to miss work or school. I continued to assure them that I knew I would live and not die. I just knew I would be fine. I concluded that bad things happen when you worry. I had a lot of people contact me and I actually saved two voicemails from some friends in Columbus that were concerned about my well being. I have not deleted it yet because that was their way of showing me love and I appreciated it so much. People showed love in various ways but that touched me.
15. So what do you do when bad things actually happen?
Depending on what it is, I may get frustrated and irritated with myself. At the end of the day, I have no choice but to drive on. I have to move on and remind myself it’s okay and its temporary. I always remind myself that bad things happen, I will be fine, and I will get through it.
16. Okay, back to the main topic of discussion. Did you have any dreams or think about anything on the day of surgery?
I only remember the anesthesia shot. They told me to count down from 10 to 0 and I was knocked out when I got down to 3. However, I do not recall encountering any actual dreams. I remember waking up trying to sing lol. I also remember waking up thinking about making things right with anyone I have ever done wrong.
17. How were the medical physicians? Sounds like you actually had a good experience. Sometimes people have terrible experiences with doctors. How did they treat you from the initial visit to post surgery?
The initial visit and surgery was great. I was actually interested in viewing the tumor but they did not allow me to see it. I am going back to Emory to see Dr. Olsen in October for my five-year post-surgery checkup (annual visit). I look forward to meeting him every year because he is very informative about the specifics of how neurons act with one another and the ability to laugh with me when he states, “You still have a hole in your head!”
18. Describe the recovery process.
I received medicine to put on my head and the doctor gave me clear instructions to avoid working out. I was allowed to stretch and walk outside but I was in bed for the majority of the time for about 2 weeks. After my two-week examination, Dr. Olsen told me I was healed and good to go! He said I was able to work out, drive, and do whatever I wanted.
19. Did this situation give you the motivation to be on top of your health and get the yearly physical exams?
Yes, I am no longer hard headed. After the surgery, I told myself that I would go to the doctor even if it were a slight issue. It is best to check things out before it develops because there is always a chance to prevent certain diagnosis' from happening.
20. Have you had any seizures since your surgery?
Nope! I am seizure free!!
21. How do you attribute this testimony to God coming through for you?
For one, God strategically placed the right people in my life. The acquaintance encouraged me to seek medical attention, I received a proper diagnosis, and I had a team of awesome physicians. I really believe God decided to put Dr. Olsen in the position to perform my surgery because he is incredibly intelligent. Before surgery, I believed God was going to guide his hands as he touched the different parts of my brain because it is a very sensitive area. Before I went to sleep, I was praying that God would move his hands in the right direction to help me stay alive. Sometimes I wonder where I would be today had I not gone to the doctor. Overall, I witnessed God’s hand move in my situation.
22. Where are you now in your career and health? You mentioned to me before that you are constantly trying to motivate and inspire people.
a. When I moved to North Carolina as an Army Training NCO (project manager for the army), every Tuesday and Thursday I would gather a group of individuals at the park and we would go running. We ran with a purpose and used this opportunity to check on each other’s health and we bonded. It was a comfortable environment where we talked about things going on with us and encouraged one another. I was so glad I could be someone’s motivation.
b. After my two-week surgery checkup, I started running again. That was the slowest one mile I ever ran in my life lol. By the time I took my next Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) in February 2016, I passed with flying colors post-surgery!! I worked hard for those seven months after surgery. I was so proud of myself because I know that if I was able to do that after surgery, I know anyone else could too! At the end of the day, I want to motivate others to be their best self! I know God put me here to push others beyond their limits. I’m still pretty good with my physical fitness even though I’ve been slacking a little with eating the Philly cheese steaks up here in Philadelphia lol
c. I am a senior at Liberty University online seeking a degree in Information Technology. In addition, I am an E6 in the Army and I plan to go to warrant officer school soon.
23. Did you ever think about going to medical school since you said you were actually interested in seeing your tumor?
I did at one point. I was actually interested in possibly going to school to understand how all of this occurs. At one point I started changing my degree and figured, "umm maybe not." However, the tumor motivated me to have a healthier lifestyle. I lost 32 pounds in a year by working out and eating right.
24. What’s your advice to others who may go through a similar situation?
Talk to people and don’t sleep on yourself. If something strange is happening, get up and go figure it out. I remember talking to an old friend that told me about her boyfriend's similar experience. I immediately told her he needed medical attention asap. Waiting is never a good idea because his might have been cancerous even though mine wasn’t. Never sit behind the desk playing with your health because it's still growing even though it's growing slow. Especially when you’re not aware of the placement of the possible mass. Mine was two inches behind my left eye, so who knows if I could’ve been blind if I didn’t get it taken care of immediately.
25. How about your attitude? Seems like you do not worry at all. Did you develop that or is that something you were taught? Can you teach that to someone that worries about sudden news?
I think it depends on how you grow up because as I stated before, when my grandma passed, I developed an attitude of not worrying. I’m not sure what she did to trigger that part of my thought process but it happened. When I was younger, I realized great people are taken from earth for a reason. She was so loving and awesome, so I know she’s in a better place. It may seem cliche, but I would tell that person to strive forward and to not dwell in the past. We've all been down many times but you've ultimately failed yourself if you do not try to get back up again. God did not put you on this Earth to give up. Every individual has a purpose in this life.
26. Did you have an anchor scripture to help increase your faith?
From what I remember, Romans 8:28 was one of the scriptures. It has been a while since I looked at it but it showed me my purpose in life and I should not worry.
I hope this testimony encourages anyone out there that might be suffering from a serious health issue or might be worrying about a situation. Always remember that God will take care of your needs and he causes all good and bad things to work together for your good and His glory. Thank you for joining us!
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Until next time…